Joe Biden addresses fall on stage at Air Force graduation: 'I was sandbagged'

 June 3, 2023

President Joe Biden tried to make light of a fall on stage Thursday during the Air Force graduation ceremony, where he was commencement speaker, pretending to run into his residence later that day and saying, "I was sandbagged."

Biden tripped while walking across the stage and fell down, needing help to get back to his feet and continue to walk back to his seat.

He stayed for the duration of the ceremony, shook hands with graduates afterward, and appeared to be fine walking back to Air Force One.

He didn't answer any questions from the press at the ceremony, but press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said he was "totally fine" as she boarded Air Force One with him afterward.

"He's fine"

"He's fine. There was a sandbag on stage while he was shaking hands," Ben LaBolt, the White House communications director, tweeted as videos began to circulate online of the incident.

Biden is certainly not the only president or public figure to fall while carrying out his duties. Gerald Ford famously fell down the steps of Air Force One during his presidency, but he got right back up and didn't need assistance.

Former President Donald Trump didn't fall, but walked gingerly down a ramp at West Point during his tenure, which was enough to raise questions about his health from a hostile press.

There have been questions about Biden's health even before this fall, and an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken in May showed that 62% of voters thought Biden was not in good enough physical health to be an effective president. Only 33% thought he was healthy enough physically.

"That's not inspiring"

Trump commented on Biden's fall while campaigning in Iowa, saying, “He actually fell down? Well I hope he wasn’t hurt. The whole thing is crazy. You gotta be careful about that ... ’cause you don’t want that, even if you have to tiptoe down a ramp.”

"That’s a bad place to fall when you’re making, I think it was the Air Force Academy, right? That’s not inspiring,” he added. “We gotta just get this thing back on track."

Florida Governor and GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis also commented on Biden's fall while campaigning in New Hampshire.

“We hope and wish Joe Biden a swift recovery from any injuries he may have sustained,” he said, “but we also wish the United States of America a swift recovery from the injuries it has sustained because of Joe Biden and his policies.”

Bee satirizes fall

The Babylon Bee published a satire piece about Biden's fall accusing the sandbag of being out to get Biden, and also of having been at the Capitol breach on January 6, 2021.

"'This sandbag has been a dangerous entity for some time,' said one source under the condition of anonymity," the Bee wrote. "'After reviewing video footage from the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol, we discovered the sandbag among the other Trump-supporting domestic terrorists. The sandbag has evaded justice since that day, giving it the opportunity to trip President Biden at the Air Force commencement ceremony.'"

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