President Joe Biden tripped and fell on stage at the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony on Thursday, prompting a renewed round of expressions of legitimate concerns with regard to his advanced age and the increasingly apparent and inevitable decline of his physical and mental capabilities.
For former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, it also brought to the forefront a separate but related concern -- the possibility of Vice President Kamala Harris ascending to the presidency in Biden's place, Fox News reported.
In a statement to Fox News following President Biden's fall on Thursday, Haley said, "No one should feel good about watching the President fall."
"While this is hard to see, we have to be honest with the American people," she continued. "Our enemies see the same TV clips and wonder who is in charge."
"Joe Biden is the oldest president in history, and if he’s reelected, we could end up with a President Harris," Haley warned. "This is why I have repeatedly called for mental competency tests and term limits for politicians. It’s time for a new generation of leadership in Washington."
Former President Donald Trump also weighed in on the matter of his rival's trip and fall incident with a reference to a 2020 incident in which he himself had almost slipped and fell at the West Point graduation ceremony.
During an event in Iowa, Trump was informed by members of the audience of what had happened to President Biden and replied, "He actually fell down? Well, I hope he wasn't hurt."
"The whole thing is crazy. You've got to be careful about that, you don't want that -- even if you have to tiptoe down the ramp," he continued in reference to his carefully walking down a "wet" and "slippery" metal ramp, for which he was heavily mocked and criticized by Democrats and the media at the time.
After recounting his own experience, Trump returned his attention to the Biden incident and said, "That's too bad. If he fell, that's too bad," and then added with respect to the fall occurring at the Air Force Academy, "That's a bad place to fall ... that's not inspiring."
According to ABC News, President Biden tripped and fell on stage as he turned to walk away after handing out diplomas to all of the graduating cadets at the Academy, and then was then quickly helped back to his feet by Secret Service agents and Air Force officers.
Per the White House and pool reporters who were at the event, the president appeared to trip over a black sandbag that was being used to keep his teleprompter steady.
Biden declined to answer any questions from reporters as he left the Academy or upon his return to the White House, though he did joke that he "got sandbagged" and seemingly demonstrated that he still had the ability to walk without issue.
Further, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, as well as White House Communications Director Ben Labolt, issued assurances to the media that the president was "fine" and uninjured.