Biden Catches a Cold and Blames His Grandson

WASHINGTON — President Biden said Friday that his hoarse voice and cough were the result of germy kisses from his toddler grandson, not the coronavirus.

Mr. Biden’s voice was noticeably raspy during a speech at the White House about Friday’s jobs report. The first question from a reporter got right down to the matter at hand:

“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.

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.”