WASHINGTON — President Biden said Friday that his hoarse voice and cough were the result of germy kisses from his toddler grandson, not the coronavirus, a development that pushed administration officials to release a doctor’s note certifying that Mr. Biden had a cold.
“As is readily apparent, President Biden is experiencing some increased nasal congestion this week,” the presidential physician, Kevin C. O’Connor, wrote in a memo released by the White House. “This can be heard in his voice and he is feeling the colloquially well-known ‘frog in ones throat.’”
Mr. Biden’s voice was noticeably raspy during a speech at the White House about Friday’s jobs report. Immediately after the remarks, a reporter pressed him on what was wrong:
“Are you OK?” asked Peter Doocy of Fox News.
“I have a test every day, a Covid test, checking for all the strains,” Mr. Biden said. “What I have is a 1½-year-old grandson who had a cold, who likes to kiss his pop.”
Mr. Biden’s youngest grandchild, Beau, is the son of Hunter Biden. The baby is often seen at the White House and was in Nantucket with the extended Biden family for Thanksgiving.
“It’s just a cold,” Mr. Biden added.
In fact, Dr. O’Connor said in the memo released Friday afternoon, Mr. Biden has been tested only three times this week for Covid-19. He also wrote that Mr. Biden has undergone “a comprehensive respiratory panel which includes 19 common respiratory pathogens, to include Covid-19, other coronaviruses, influenza, streptococcus” and more.
All of those tests were negative, he wrote, and Mr. Biden would continue to be treated with over-the-counter medication.
Mr. Biden, who is 79 and the oldest person to be president of the United States, is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, including a booster shot. But White House officials have fielded repeated questions this week about whether they have any plans to curtail his travel or public appearances over the arrival of the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the virus in the United States.
The officials have said Mr. Biden had no plans to change his schedule, which this week included lighting ceremonies for the White House menorah and Christmas tree, several policy speeches and bill signings, and a flight to Minnesota to champion his infrastructure legislation. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Thursday that health officials had not changed their guidance for Mr. Biden’s public appearances.
He plans to go to Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, for the weekend.
“I would expect — and our plans are moving full speed ahead at this point to have the president travel around the country, sell his infrastructure plan, make clear to the American people what he’s doing to lower their costs,” Ms. Psaki said. “So you’ll see him out on the trail, I would expect, next week.”