US President-Elect Joe Biden has made his first appearance in public for several days and has immediately sparked questions about an apparent serious injury he recently sustained.
At a media briefing to announce planned appointments to his incoming administration, Mr Biden was at pains to stress he was not seriously injured despite taking to the lectern with a heavily bandaged face.
“It’s just a precaution really,” Mr Biden said. “As you all know I’m a tough sort of guy so I don’t know if I would have agreed to the bandaging even if I had been conscious when the doctors applied it.
“I mean it was only third-degree burns after all,” he said.
Under questioning Mr Biden revealed he sustained the injury last weekend during celebrations for his 78th birthday at his Delaware home.
“Someone thought it would be a good idea to have a birthday cake and they put 78 candles on the top of it,” he explained.
“I leaned into the cake to blow them out and that’s when it happened.”
A reported asked if the former Vice-President’s clothing had caught fire and caused his injury.
“No, no, no. It wasn’t that,” Mr Biden said. “As I leaned in to blow out the candles I totally forgot what I was doing and just fell asleep.
“I had pretty good little nap for a second or two before my face fell right into the middle of the 78 burning candles.
“But the important thing is I’m OK now. I mean when you get to my age you can honestly say ‘I’ve had worse’.
“So I just want everyone to settle down and move on. I’m fine and we have lots of work to do before President Roosevelt’s inauguration.
“It’ll be quite the historic day, what with him starting his fourth term,” he said before aides shepherded him away.