Is Biden okay? POTUS coughs, reads from note cards and refers to Trump as 'President' as he signs executive orders

'Uh, the second order I’m gonna be signing, changes what the President has done, what the former President has done… It, uh, a memorandum, a reverse on my predecessor’s attack on women’s health access as we continue to battle COVID-19, even more critical,” Biden said, coughing in between.


                            Is Biden okay? POTUS coughs, reads from note cards and refers to Trump as 'President' as he signs executive orders
President Joe Biden was seen mumbling and coughing as he prepared to sign executive orders on Thursday, January 28 (MSNBC)

On Thursday, January 28, President Joe Biden signed two more executive orders, claiming that he was attempting to reverse "the damage" done by former President Donald Trump. Before he signed each of them, he made a small speech which was covered by the press pool, during which he was seen coughing and fumbling to get his words out as he read from note cards. "I'm not initiating any new law, any new aspect of the law," Biden said in brief remarks from the Oval Office. The president said he is "restoring the Affordable Care Act and restoring the Medicaid to the way it was before Trump became president, which by fiat he changed, made more inaccessible, more expensive and more difficult for people to qualify for either of those two items."



 

He was seen shuffling through index cards of notes while claiming he will “change what the President has done.” “Uh, the second order I’m gonna be signing, changes what the President has done, what the former President has done… It, uh, a memorandum, a reverse on my predecessor’s attack on women’s health access as we continue to battle COVID-19, even more critical,” said Biden as he briefly seemed to tumble his words and get choked up in the middle of his speech. After clearing his throat, he was able to continue his speech. “Today I’m about to sign two executive orders to, basically, the best way to describe them, undo the damage Trump has done,” Biden told pool reporters.

In the months leading up to the 2020 election, Trump made Biden's mental fitness an integral part of his reelection message. He gave Biden the nickname "Sleepy Joe" and his campaign began promoting videos of Biden stumbling over his words or mistakenly referring to Vice President Kamala Harris as the future POTUS. In one of Trump's heavily edited campaign ads, Biden was seen saying, "Sometimes I wake up and think it's 1920."Joe Biden is slipping," a narrator in the ad said. "Now at the age of 77 years old and running for president for the third time, Biden is clearly diminished. Joe Biden does not have the strength, stamina and mental fortitude required to lead this country." 

This narrative gained currency again as soon as a clip of the Oval Office moment went viral on Twitter, with an array of people mocking Biden and questioning his presidential ability. "If they don’t write it or prompter it. He’s lost," one of them said, while another remarked, "25th amendment coming soon..." A third quipped, "This guys a mess." One more wrote, "He has no clue what he is signing." The next commented, "I think they will getting rid off him very fast."

"And you tell me the people voted for this?" a commenter tweeted. Another said, "Week one complete. Twenty-five more to go. That’s about the time the deep state will push NP to impeach or use A25 to remove him from office." One more noted, "These are getting more and more painful to watch by the day."



 

 

 



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

In his first three days in the Oval Office, Biden signed 19 executive orders. In his first week, that number touched 22 along with many presidential proclamations and memoranda (total number of executive actions touching 37). Trump, in comparison, had signed only four executive orders in his first week in office in January 2017 while former president Barack Obama signed five and George W Bush none. Bill Clinton signed only two executive orders in his inaugural week, George H W Bush one, Ronald Reagan none while Jimmy Carter, his predecessor and the oldest living former president, signed one.

The Biden administration has also faced legal challenges over its executive orders. A federal judge in Texas, for example, temporarily blocked one order to pause the deportation of certain immigrants for 100 days. Some orders like returning to the Paris peace deal which the US had left under Trump in 2017 or moving to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline project have also come under the scanner.

U.S. President Joe Biden prepares to sign a series of executive orders at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office just hours after his inauguration on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)
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