President Joe Biden’s recent tumbles have had staffers prompting the president to use the short stairs into the belly of Air Force One to prevent the public spectacle of him falling down the stairs.
Biden notably took such a spill in March 2021, shortly after he became president. Last month, Biden tripped and fell during the Air Force Academy’s commencement ceremony.
This was apparent during his recent return from the NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. He also used them during his stops in London, Helsinki, and upon his return to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
Joe Biden Stumbles In Helsinki
Observers noted that Biden stumbled in Helsinki.
“About half way up he appeared to stumble very slightly but kept walking on up. He turned to wave to the staff out on the tarmac and went in,” Newsweek reported.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre chose to dodge a reporter’s question about why Biden opted to use the shorter stairs during an in-flight press conference aboard Air Force One.
“I don’t have any decision process to walk through,” Jean-Pierre said according to Politico. “I’m sure there’s a protocol that’s used for the — for Air Force One. I just don’t have one.”
Earlier this year the president stumbled while he attempted to climb the stairs on Air Force One prior to a trip to Warsaw, Poland.
He also has used the shorter stairs during stops inside the U.S., during trips to Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Rocky Mount, N.C.
“There are a series of factors that go into the logistical decision-making on this, including weather, what kind of airport we’re landing at and whether there is a formal greeting planned for the tarmac where we expect that press will want an official photo at the bottom of the tall stairs,” a White House official told Politico. “There’s not one hard and fast rule — it is a decision made on a variety of factors in a wide range of settings and circumstances.”
Biden Accommodation Connected With Presidential Race
The White House privately acknowledges that Biden’s age is his Achilles Heel going into 2024. It wants to avoid creating headlines that remind voters that Joe Biden is an elderly man who has age-related health issues.
Biden’s most recent health report showed he suffers from an age-related stiffened gait, which some observers have suggested could be linked to his apparent cognitive issues. Dr. David Sheiner, a doctor who attended to former President Barack Obama, told The Washington Examiner that this was not a small issue.
“When you do work on the brain, there’s always a little damage done,” Scheiner said, recalling his 1988 operations for brain aneurysms. “It worries me that he is aging. If I look at him, he’s not a young 80.”
Scheiner continued, noting how the president walks: “The gait is not an insignificant factor,” claiming this provides “a peek into the whole physical, mental capability of a person.”
Biden defenders say his age doesn’t matter.
“Satchel Paige famously said about age: ‘It’s mind over matter — if you don’t mind, it don’t matter.’ But this does matter to voters,” said Rick Ridder, a longtime Democratic strategist in the West with experience on several presidential campaigns. “And Biden’s physical fragility complicates his effort to convince voters that re-electing him is a vote for stability. Because it’s hard for anyone to embody stability at 80 years old.”
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.