Biden skips G-20 gala because he ‘needed to attend to a few items,’ official says

President Biden unexpectedly skipped the G20 gala in Indonesia Tuesday and returned early to his hotel room for the night.

Though the dinner was on the president’s public schedule for the day, he instead turned in early after a lengthy day of meetings and events.

It is unclear why exactly Biden did not hit the gala, but according to the White House press pool, an administration official said, “The president just had spent a full day [of] meetings and needed to attend to a few items tonight.”

President Biden speaks during a news conference on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting on Nov. 14 in Bali, Indonesia.
(AP/Alex Brandon)

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The spokesperson said Biden spoke to Indonesian President Joko Widodo about his regret over not attending the dinner who reportedly told Biden “it was not an issue.”

The White House official noted that the “items” in question were “not urgent” though his absence comes after he was photographed with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who tested positive for COVID Monday.

President Biden shakes hands with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen before their meeting during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

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The Cambodian leader hosted Biden and other world leaders at a summit in the capital city of Phnom Penh over the weekend in the lead up to the world forum in Indonesia, where Biden spent considerable time with him and sat next to him during a Saturday event.

Hun Sen said he first tested positive on Monday and was confirmed to have contracted the infectious disease by an Indonesian doctor Tuesday.

Sitting next to Indonesian President Joao Widodo, President Biden smiles during the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment meeting at the G20 summit, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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The White House said Biden tested negative as recently as Tuesday morning and said the president is not considered to be a “close contact” as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Biden appears to be on track to follow his Wednesday schedule and the White House official confirmed that he “looks forward to seeing [Widodo] at the mangrove planting tomorrow.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.