Biden Skips Major Gala To Attend To A Few Items

( Last Tuesday, President Joe Biden unexpectedly begged off attending the G20 gala in Bali, choosing instead to return early to his hotel room, leading some to suspect the president was ill.

The gala dinner did appear on the president’s public schedule for the day, but after a long day of meetings and events, Biden decided to turn in early.

While it was unclear why the 80-year-old president did not attend the gala, the White House press pool reported that an administration official said Biden had just spent the day attending meetings “and needed to attend to a few items tonight” but clarified that the items in question were “not urgent.”

According to the official, the president spoke with Indonesian President Joko Widodo offering his regrets for not attending the dinner. President Widodo reportedly told Biden that his skipping the gala would not be “an issue.”

However, the rumor mill churned.

Over the weekend, President Biden was photographed with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, whom last Monday tested positive for COVID.

The Cambodian Prime Minister had hosted the president and other world leaders at a summit in Phnom Penh over the weekend in advance of the G20 forum in Indonesia. During the Phnom Penh summit, Biden spent a considerable amount of time with the prime minister and sat beside him during a Saturday event.

Hun Sen said he first tested positive for COVID on Monday and that was later confirmed by an Indonesian doctor on Tuesday.

However, the White House said the president tested negative for COVID on Tuesday morning and argued that Biden’s encounters with Hun Sen are not considered “close contact” as defined by the Centers for Disease Control.

Whatever the reason for Biden skipping the Tuesday gala, the president was back at the G20 on Wednesday following his full schedule.