On Sunday, President Joe Biden stumbled and nearly fell while climbing the stairs to board Air Force One in Alabama, the Western Journal reported.
Given that similar incidents have happened multiple times now since Biden first took office in January 2021, the outlet asserted that the president’s apparent struggles with the stairs were more than coincidental and were likely evidence of a problematic pattern.
Biden nearly falls again
Fox News reported that President Biden was in Selma, Alabama on Sunday to mark the 58th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” civil rights march across a bridge in the southern town that had been violently blocked and pushed back by police at that time.
As Biden boarded Air Force One for a return flight to his home in Delaware, he appeared to trip about halfway up the steps but caught himself before he fell and continued up the stairs as if nothing had happened.
Watch out for the stairs! pic.twitter.com/Qo7faNqRfS
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 6, 2023
Fox News noted that a strikingly similar incident had occurred just about two weeks prior when Biden stumbled while ascending the staircase to Air Force One while leaving Poland after an unannounced visit to neighboring Ukraine.
A pattern has emerged
The Western Journal is not the only outlet to call out the increasingly apparent pattern of President Biden’s repeated troubles with boarding the presidential plane, as the New York Post highlighted at least four or five such incidents over the past two years.
Prior to these two most recent incidents, there were two similar stumbles without falls where he was forced to grab the handrail following a trip on the steps in May and June of 2022, the first while boarding a flight for an event in Illinois and the second just a month later while boarding a flight to California for an international summit.
The first and most serious, though, came in March 2021, when Biden tripped two or three times while climbing the stairs and actually fell to his knees during a visit to Georgia.
According to the Post, and based upon the latest report on the president’s health from White House Physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the increasingly frequent struggles with the Air Force One staircase are likely due to Biden’s “stiff gait” that is in turn attributed to his suffering from “significant spinal arthritis, mild post-fracture foot arthritis, and a mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of the feet” — or, in other words, painful arthritis mixed with a loss of feeling in his feet.
Well-deserved mockery, but also a serious problem
According to Newsweek, the video of President Biden’s latest struggle with the steps to board Air Force One went viral on social media and, though the president had some defenders who downplayed the stumble as something that could happen to anybody, they were vastly outnumbered by those who mocked the elderly president for his troubles boarding the presidential plane.
Some jokingly suggested that the White House should install a Stairlift-style device on Air Force One to carry the president up and down.
Others asserted that Biden might need escorts — whether they be members of the military, Secret Service, or his own staffers — to help him handle the steps and ensure he doesn’t fall and possibly cause serious injury to himself or others.
To be sure, while jokes can and will be made about Biden’s persistent struggles with the Air Force One staircase, it is actually a relatively serious matter with legitimate concerns for not only the president’s own health and well-being but also more broadly in terms of the geopolitical perception of the American leader as being frail and weak and unable to ascend a simple staircase without risk of a catastrophe.