Biden was scheduled to attend the G-20 gala dinner at Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park in Bali, along with a cultural event, but he missed both and returned to his hotel earlier in the night.
“It’s not COVID,” an unnamed White House staffer told pool reporter Geoff Earle, of the Daily Mail. “He just had spent a full day in meetings and needed to attend to a few things tonight (nothing urgent!). He spoke to [Indonesian President Joko] Widodo to send his regrets about missing the dinner and Widodo said it was not an issue and P looks forward to seeing him at the mangrove thing tomorrow.”
Biden is scheduled to participate in a mangrove tree planting with G-20 leaders on Wednesday.
COVID-19 was top of mind because Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen tested positive for the virus just days after meeting with Biden. However, Biden tested negative on Tuesday morning and was not considered a close contact. The White House said previously Biden had a cold.
“It’s been a long day, and he has other matters he needed to attend to,” a White House official said.
At the gala dinner that Biden missed, many leaders wore traditional Indonesian batik shirts, according to Reuters, and host Widodo joked that he hoped the food was not too spicy for foreigners.
Biden will begin making the journey back to Washington on Wednesday.