President Biden has fallen on stage while handing out diplomas to Air Force Academy cadets in Colorado.
The 80-year-old commander-in-chief stumbled and fell to his knees and then got back up during the graduation ceremony in an incident likely to spark more concerns about his age as the nation’s oldest president seeks a second term.
He was assisted by Air Force officials when he fell to the ground.
The president then walked away without help and appeared to point to a sandbag on the stage that he appeared to trip over.
‘He’s fine,’ White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt tweeted shortly after the incident. ‘There was a sandbag on stage while he was shaking hands.’
The stumble comes just weeks after Biden stumbled while visiting the Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima, Japan.
During that event, there was a railing available on some stairs the president had to navigate down. He ignored the railing and stumbled, restoring his balance while walking downward. Biden also stumbled while boarding Air Force One in March on a trip to Selma, Alabama.
Biden fell up the stairs while boarding Air Force One in 2021 and toppled over on his bike near his Delaware beach house last June. He was not harmed in any of the incidents.
President Joe Biden is helped up after falling during the graduation ceremony at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado. He fell while handing out diplomas to cadets
A pool reporter traveling with the president to Colorado said Biden ‘was walking back to his seat when fell. He appeared to have tripped on a black sandbag on the stage.
‘When he fell, pointed to the black sandbag suggesting that’s what he tripped on,’ according to the report.
It was three years ago when then-President Donald Trump appeared to struggle while walking down a ramp when delivering the commencement speech at West Point.
First lady Jill Biden, who sometimes walks with Biden as she did holding hands on their return from Wilmington Tuesday, was out of the country Thursday attending a royal wedding in Jordan.
The fall comes in a race where Biden’s age has already become an issue. Biden would be 82 when he is sworn in if he wins a second term.
His chief rival, 76, former President Donald Trump, has repeatedly questioned Biden’s mental capacity.
‘Well, I hope he wasn’t hurt,’ said Trump when asked about Biden’s incident Thursday.
He sought further information when a reporter first told him the details. ‘He actually fell down?’ Trump asked.
‘The whole thing is – look,’ he elaborated. ‘The whole thing is crazy. You’ve got to be careful about that. Because you don’t want that. Even if you have to tip toe down a ramp …’ he said, in a possible reference to his own incident at West Point.
‘He’s fine,’ White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt tweeted afterward. ‘There was a sandbag (seen left) on stage while he was shaking hands.’
The 80-year-old commander-in-chief tripped and fell his knees and then got back up during the graduation ceremony
The president was able to stand up and walk after the incident, and did not immediately leave the stage
Sandbagged: President Biden has fallen on stage while handing out diplomas at the Air Force Academy in Colorado
The fall came at the end of an event where Biden celebrated cadets, spoke about unifying the nation, and committed the U.S. to Ukraine’s defense
The incident came at the end of an event capped by a spectacular fly-over
The stumble came at the end of a photo-friendly event where the president celebrated cadets
Biden kept up the tradition of giving a commencement address at one of the service academies
First lady Jill Biden, who held Biden’s hand as he returned from the White House May 30, was overseas during Biden’s fall
Biden’s recurring stumbles
The president has suffered a series of near falls while in office, often while navigating stairs.
Earlier this month, Biden stumbled while visiting the Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima, Japan.
During that event, there was a railing available on some stairs the president had to navigate down. He ignored the railing and stumbled, catching his balance while walking downward.
Biden also briefly stumbled while boarding Air Force One in March on a return trip from Selma, Alabama. During that incident, Biden grabbed a railing with his right hand, then briefly let go, and stumbled before regaining his balance. Then he started using the railing again.
Biden fell up the stairs while boarding Air Force One in 2021. During that incident, he stumbled repeatedly even while holding the railing of the jetway.
He toppled over on his bike near his Delaware beach house last June. He was not harmed in any of the incidents.
Biden broke his foot in 2020 while playing with his former German Shepherd, Major, and was required to wear a medical boot for several weeks.
The fall comes just hours after Biden scored a legislative achievement, with the House voting to pass a deal he negotiated with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to avoid a potential default.
It also comes at the start of a presidential campaign where the White House is already fielding questions about why Biden has not been on the road more or held any formal campaing rallies.
The White House physician has pronounced Biden fit to serve, but has also noted stiffening in his gait.
The president in recent months has been walking more slowly when going to and from the White House.
He still flies regularly as he did over Memorial Day weekend, when he flew to Camp David, returned to the White House, then flew to Wilmington and returned to D.C.
Biden’s fall came at the end of a speech where he kept up the tradition of having a president speak at one of the service academies.
As per custom, he waived cadets of any minor infractions in their records, and spoke about the U.S. commitment to Ukraine in its war against Russia’s invasion and the achievements of the Air Force and Space Force in aiding the effort.
He also acknowledged the Air Force Academy graduates who pilot Air Force One.
‘I trust my life to academy graduates,’ he said.
Biden also spoke to the latest in military technology that young cadets will be responsible for operating in the future, including high-tech weaponry like the B-21 Raider.
‘You’re going to be flying that sucker,’ he said.
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