When President Joe Biden tripped over a sandbag at the U.S. Air Force Academy commencement in Colorado on June 1, it sparked fresh debate about his ability to lead.
The president went tumbling as he turned around on stage and was caught by secret service detail and an Air Force officer, and does not appear to have been injured.
Nonetheless, the scenes caused virtually everyone in the country – supporters and non-supporters – to simultaneously take a sharp intake of breath.
Some say that tripping and falling on a sandbag tells us “nothing” about President Biden’s health, or the future of his presidency – and, taken in isolation, that’s probably true.
Everyone has tripped over something at some point, and if a sandbag were placed behind any young, physically able person, chances are that a significant portion of those people would fall too. But that’s not what this is about.
This is one of a multitude of instances of the president falling or tripping, and the very same day that Biden fell over, he banged his head on a helicopter door as he returned to the White House.
The Joe Biden Questions
Biden’s frailty isn’t going away, and neither are his cognitive issues. Biden and his family presumably know that now, and they presumably knew it back when he said during the 2020 presidential race that he is a “transitional” president.”
Biden never really did say what he means by that, though some have speculated – including this author – that he may have intended to step down before the 2024 election to give Kamala Harris a shot at the presidency and the benefits of being an incumbent in the 2024 election.
Obviously, that has not transpired and won’t now that Biden has announced his re-election campaign, but that doesn’t mean it was never his intention. In fact, it may have been his intention until the Biden White House saw just how deeply unpopular Harris was and has remained throughout her time as vice president.
Perhaps, then, Biden is only seeing through this 2024 campaign in the hopes of winning again, and then handing over power to the comparatively younger Harris, knowing that she’ll have years to prove herself as a viable candidate for the future.
Harris would likely also benefit from the fact that in 2028, she will almost certainly face no threat from a fourth Trump presidential campaign – assuming Biden wins in 2024, that is.
It should go without saying that nobody, certainly not this author, is wishing death upon the president.
Even if he is the worst president in living memory, it’s hard to see an octogenarian fall over on stage. But, it’s hard not to ask these questions when the leader of the free world doesn’t seem physically or mentally up to the job of leaving.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.