President Joe Biden nearly tripped and fell while ascending the stairs to board Air Force One on Sunday, Fox News reported.
This is the second such near-fall on the Air Force One boarding steps for the president in as many weeks, as he was caught on camera stumbling up the stairs while leaving Poland on Feb. 22 following a surprise visit to neighboring Ukraine.
Per Fox News, President Biden was in Selma, Alabama on Sunday to mark the 58th anniversary of the "Bloody Sunday" incident in which civil rights protesters were violently attacked and pushed back by police while trying to cross a bridge.
As he walked up the steps to board Air Force One for a flight back to his Delaware home, Biden stumbled around halfway but managed to catch himself and avoid falling completely before continuing to move upward.
Watch out for the stairs! pic.twitter.com/Qo7faNqRfS
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 6, 2023
The New York Post reported that this is at least the fourth or possibly fifth such incident involving President Biden experiencing difficulty in ascending the mobile staircase to Air Force One since taking office in January 2021.
The first and arguably most serious of those incidents occurred in March 2021, when he stumbled twice and actually fell to his knees on the stairs while boarding a flight to Georgia. At that time, the White House attempted to explain away his trip and fall by blaming heavy gusts of wind for knocking him over.
There were two more similar but less serious incidents in mid-2022, including one in May while headed to Illinois and again in June while headed to California, during which the president appeared to lose his footing but caught himself before falling by grabbing the handrail.
Then there was his stumble in Poland in February of this year and now Alabama just two weeks later, and there may now be a more believable explanation for his repeated struggles with the Air Force One staircase than gusty winds, per the Post.
According to the report from White House Physician Dr. Kevin O'Connor following Biden's annual physical exam, the acknowledged "stiff gait" and shuffling walk of the president was attributed to "significant spinal arthritis, mild post-fracture foot arthritis, and a mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of the feet" -- or, in other words, painful arthritis and a loss of feeling in his feet.
Newsweek reported that this latest stumble for President Biden on the Air Force One staircase unsurprisingly led to widespread mockery as the video went viral on social media.
To be sure, there were some who defended the president and dismissed his stumbles as something that could happen to anyone of any age or health status, but those sorts of responses were decidedly in the minority.
Instead, there were plenty of jokes about Biden's advanced age and increasingly apparent declining health, both physical and mental, and more than a few humorous suggestions that the White House install some sort of Stairlift-type device on the Air Force One staircase to prevent any future trips and falls.
Yet, even among the mockery, there were some who seemingly expressed genuine concern for the health and well-being of the president and well-intended suggestions that either the military, the Secret Service, or even just his staffers begin to closely escort him up the stairs in case it became necessary to catch and stop him from tumbling backward down the stairs to almost certain injury at the bottom.