(The Hill) – President Biden on Friday said he has a cold after sounding hoarse and coughing during remarks on the November jobs report at the White House.
The president, in a raspy voice, said he has taken a test and that he doesn’t have COVID-19.
“I am OK. I have a test every day to see, a COVID test. I’ve been checking for all the strands. What I have is a 1 1/2-year-old grandson who had a cold, who likes to kiss his pop. And he’s been kissing … anyway,” the president said when asked if he was OK. “But it’s just a cold.”
Biden’s young grandson is the child of Hunter Biden and is named Beau Biden, after the president’s late son.
The White House pointed to the president’s answer when asked by The Hill about his health.
Biden’s illness comes as the COVID-19 omicron variant is being detected in the U.S., with the first case found in California on Wednesday and four more states confirming cases as of Friday.
Biden, 79, coughed and cleared his throat while discussing the jobs numbers released on Friday. According to the report, the U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs in November, less than half of the 500,000 expected by economists. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, was notably lower than the 4.5 percent projected by analysts, falling 0.4 percentage points from October to 4.2 percent.
Despite his cold, Biden conveyed optimism about the economy and the holiday season ahead.
“Every year, December brings the joys of a holiday season and gives us an opportunity to reflect on the year gone by and look ahead and begin to imagine the new year to come. This year we can reflect on an extraordinary bit of progress,” he said.
Biden called the drop in unemployment “incredible news” and said it is “a significant improvement” that the economy has created 6 million jobs in his first 10 full months in office.
“Because of the extraordinary strides we’ve made, we look forward to a brighter, happier new year ahead, in my view,” he said.