Biden stumbles climbing ‘windy’ steps to Air Force One

White House spokesperson says the US president is ‘doing fine’ after ‘misstep’, and he did not require medical attention.

President Joe Biden hangs onto the railing with one hand as he stumbles while climbing the steps of Air Force One while departing from Washington, DC to Atlanta [Carlos Barria/Reuters]

US President Joe Biden stumbled on Friday climbing the stairs to board Air Force One for a flight to Atlanta.

Biden took a jaunty 10 steps up the stairs before tripping, catching himself, taking a couple more steps and then tripping twice more.

The president briefly gathered himself, smoothed his left pant leg over his knee and carried on deliberately to the top of the steps. He turned smartly and gave a quick salute to Air Force personnel on the runway.

“It’s very windy outside,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters travelling with Biden when asked about the president’s stumble.

“He is doing 100 percent fine. He’s doing great,” she said.

At age 78, Biden is the oldest person to become president. In November, he suffered a hairline fracture of his right foot while playing with one of his dogs.

Biden is not the first US president to get caught on camera stumbling as their moves are widely covered and each trip-up is under a microscope.

Former President Gerald Ford slipped and fell down the steps exiting Air Force One when arriving in Austria in 1975. It was raining and the steps were wet. Ford blamed it on his bum knee.

“I’m sorry that I tumbled in,” Ford said in remarks upon his arrival.

Ford’s fall became a running gag on the then-brand new Saturday Night Live television show and actor Chevy Chase’s weekly lampooning of Ford’s stumble helped propel Chase to stardom.

Former President Donald Trump last year drew speculation about his health when he awkwardly brought a glass of water to his lips and stumbled walking down a ramp after giving remarks at the US Military Academy at West Point.

Trump said the ramp was slippery and dismissed concerns about his health.

“The ramp that I descended after my West Point Commencement speech was very long & steep, had no handrail and, most importantly was very slippery. The last think I was going to do is ‘fall’ for the Fake News to have fun with,” Trump had tweeted.

Trump also drew mockery in 2018 when he boarded Air Force One with what looked like toilet paper stuck to the sole of his left shoe.

Biden is visiting with Asian American community leaders in Atlanta following the shootings at massage spas that killed eight people earlier this week. He is scheduled to give remarks at Emory University on Friday afternoon.

Source: Al Jazeera