Joe Biden coughs throughout tax speech, Jen Psaki says it's 'not a concern'
Jen Biden was delivering his remarks on the state of the US economy and urged corporations to pay their 'fair share' of taxes
President Joe Biden faced stark criticism on Thursday, September 16 after he coughed throughout his tax speech, but White House press secretary Jen Psaki dodged questions about his health saying it was "not a concern."
The 46th POTUS was delivering his remarks on the state of the US economy and excoriated high net worth individuals and large corporations for not paying their "fair share" of taxes. Biden's speech started out with a few coughs as he excused himself in order to clear his throat. However, he continued speaking for approximately 23 minutes despite a constant tickle in his throat, The Sun reported.
"I’m not out to punish anyone, I’m a capitalist," Biden said. "If you can make a million or a billion dollars, that’s great. God bless you. All I’m asking is you pay your fair share, pay your fair share, just like middle-class folks do. That isn't about raising their taxes. It is about the super-wealthy finally begins to pay what they owe, what the existing tax code calls for. Just like hardworking Americans do all over this country every tax day."
"How’s it possible that the wealthiest billionaires in the country can entirely escape paying income taxes on what they make?" the president asked.
However, social media was inundated with criticisms against the president with the hashtag #bidencough. "This is how my mother-in-law started when she was diagnosed with Dementia #BidenCough," one wrote. "Biden coughing, gagging and phlegm gurgling is making me ill. Every television speech is full of this. Give the man water PLEASE. #BidenPhlegm #BidenCough #BidenNeedsWater," another tweeted.
"And why aren't any of his handlers teaching him how to cough into his arm and not his hand?" a comment read. "He was told by his Advisors to Cough a few times, he just wouldn't do this on his own," a user quipped.
"Coughing? Did you miss the stuttering, failure to complete sentences, forgetting where he’s at, forgetting what office he holds, failure to answer questions that aren’t pre-scripted...the coughing is the least of my concerns," another added.
This is how my mother in law started when she was diagnosed with Dementia #BidenCough— Pam Sebastian (@chick5459) September 17, 2021
and why aren't any of his handlers teaching him how to cough into his arm and not his hand?— Amy Donley (@amyd724) September 17, 2021
He was told by his Advisors to Cough a few times, he just wouldn't do this on his own.— Dave Hill (@davejr555) September 16, 2021
Coughing? Did you miss the stuttering, failure to complete sentences, forgetting where he’s at, forgetting what office he holds, failure to answer questions that aren’t pre-scripted...the coughing is the least of my concerns— Excalib3r17 (@Excalib3r17) September 16, 2021
Biden's coughing fit didn't go unnoticed by the White House press corps. One reporter decided to question Psaki on the same. "Many of us were in the East Room watching the president, we’ve seen him on many occasions where he had a repeated cough. What is the situation with that cough and is it a concern?" NBC News reporter Kelly O’Donnell asked Psaki during a White House press briefing on Thursday, September 16.
The press secretary tried to reassure that the president's coughing fits were "not a concern" and noted that he had a doctor traveling with him all the time. Responding to why Biden was seen coughing, Psaki said, "I think there are [sic] a range of reasons why we may need to clear our throat or we may have a little light cold. And that’s certainly something that presidents, elected officials, reporters, spokespeople can confront."
That said, this is not the first time Biden has coughed repeatedly during a live address. While endorsing California Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this week, Biden hacked his way through a speech and triggered widespread concerns over his health. The 78-year-old spoke with a cough and a hoarse voice as he addressed California voters from the campus of Long Beach City College on September 13. At one point, he even apologized and paused to take a sip of water.