All scheduled engagements, including a meeting with the secretary general of NATO, had to be postponed when President Joe Biden underwent a dental root canal without much advance notice to the public.
The evening diplomatic reception and the intended meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg “will be rescheduled,” the White House announced.
Biden had a root canal on a premolar tooth in his lower right jaw, according to a statement from presidential physician Kevin C. O’Connor.
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the procedure was “successfully completed. The president is doing just fine and he’ll certainly be working in the residence.”
Although the White House played down the episode, Biden is 80, the oldest person ever to be president. Scrutiny of his health is intense as he bids to win a second term in 2024, taking him to 86 by the time he would leave office.
As Biden gets ready for the NATO summit in Lithuania in July, the White House talks with the prime ministers of allies Britain and Denmark were to be followed by the Stoltenberg meeting.
All eyes are now on the outcome of a much-touted Ukrainian offensive to liberate territory, in which the Western alliance is heavily involved in aiding Ukraine to defend itself against Russian invasion.
NATO must also decide on Stoltenberg’s replacement before the end of his term in October, which is a significant issue.