Biden told concerned Democratic governors he needs more sleep, sources say

He told them he wants to stop scheduling events after 8 p.m., they said.

July 4, 2024, 7:17 PM

President Joe Biden told Democratic governors during a meeting at the White House on Wednesday that he needs to get more rest, and in order to get more sleep, he wants to stop scheduling events after 8 p.m., according to one person in the room and two others briefed on the discussion.

The meeting with governors was intended to ease concerns about the president's age and mental fitness.

During the meeting, the 81-year-old president responded to a question from Hawaii Gov. Josh Green about his health by stating he was fine, but he added, "it's just my brain," according to one person in the room and another familiar with the discussion.

President Joe Biden speaks during a Medal of Honor Ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, July 3, 2024.
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Both people said they took that comment, which was first reported by The New York Times, as a joke.

In a statement to ABC News, Biden's campaign chair, Jen O’Malley Dillon, who was in the room during the conversation, stated, “He was clearly making a joke and then said ‘all kidding aside.’”

The White House declined to comment.

President Joe Biden walks off stage during a break in a presidential debate with former President Donald Trump hosted by CNN, June 27, 2024, in Atlanta.
Gerald Herbert/AP

As ABC News also reported, Biden told governors he had a medical checkup following the 9 p.m. debate last week and is in good health, according to two people with direct knowledge of conversation during the meeting.

After telling reporters on the record on Wednesday that the president has not gotten any medical exams since suffering from just a cold at the time of the debate, the White House acknowledged Thursday that President Biden was seen by his doctor several days afterward.

According to White House senior deputy press secretary Andrew Bates, “Several days later, the President was seen to check on his cold and was recovering well.”

Separately, some Democrats who wanted the president to start having conversations with governors and lawmakers are concerned that reported comments like these coming out of his discussions are not helping the party turn the page and could only be making the situation worse.

Biden heads to Wisconsin on Friday for a campaign rally and a critical first TV interview since the debate with ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

The first excerpts will air on "World News Tonight" and then the interview will be broadcast in its entirety in a prime-time ABC network special on Friday evening at 8 p.m. ET.

Watch: ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos' exclusive first post-debate TV interview with President Joe Biden airs in its entirety in an ABC News prime-time special Friday, July 5, at 8 p.m. ET.

"I'm not going anywhere," Biden said Thursday, speaking at a July Fourth barbecue for military families after someone in the crowd shouted, "Keep up the fight!"

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