He’s back on the White House balcony and treaty room for President Joe Biden as he deals with a “rebound” case of COVID-19.
Trapped in the White House for the second time in as many weeks, the president knows the drill this time: he has an office in the residence and his dog Commander to keep him company while he governs by Zoom and FaceTime.
Biden’s latest bout with COVID-19 came with a new wrinkle: how to announce a major counterterrorism operation in Afghanistan from isolation.
Biden, dressed in a dark suit and red tie, walked to a lectern that had been set up on the balcony of the Blue Room on Monday evening and informed the American people of the murder of Ayman al-Zawahri, the leader of al-Qaeda, during a US strike in Afghanistan this weekend.
The White House allowed only one print reporter to watch Biden deliver his speech, peering out a window in the adjacent Red Room. A television cameraman filmed the president and a photographer took pictures – a smaller footprint than the group of reporters who usually attend the president’s appearances.
Biden’s initial diagnosis of COVID-19 left him with a persistent cough and runny nose, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. His rebound case – so labeled because he tested positive on Saturday just three days after being released from solitary with two negative tests last Tuesday and Wednesday – has made him nervous about returning to a schedule normal.
Biden’s rebound interrupted a trip back to Wilmington, Delaware, to reunite with first lady Jill Biden, who has been there since Biden’s initial diagnosis. A Tuesday trip to Michigan to promote a $280 billion high-tech manufacturing bill he intends to sign was also scuttled.
Instead, Biden is stuck in COVID-19 isolation until at least Thursday, under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, and possibly longer under stricter White House protocols. who require a negative test to return to work.
“He’s someone who enjoys being out there with the American people,” Jean-Pierre said Monday. “He can’t wait to be there again.”
White House physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor said in a Monday letter that the president “continues to feel good” this time around, even though he tests positive.
Shortly after Saturday’s announcement of his return to isolation, the president tweeted a photo of himself in a mask, no tie, and signing a statement that added one-on-one assistance to flood survivors in Kentucky.
He went on to tweet a 12-second video of himself on a White House balcony with Commander.
“I feel good, everything is fine,” Biden said, a pair of aviator sunglasses in hand. “But Commander and I have a little work to do.”