President Joe Biden fell on stage at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation in Colorado Springs, where he was attending as the commencement speaker.
Driving the news: In a video of the ceremony, Biden can be seen shaking hands with one of the cadets who received their diploma before tripping over a black sandbag and falling onto the stage.
- At least three Air Force officials helped the president back up, and he appeared to be okay and stayed through the end of the ceremony.
- Biden is 80 years old and announced that he will run for reelection for a second term. He was the oldest president ever to be sworn-in when he took office in 2020.
- Biden’s missteps have become fodder for political rivals as he campaigns for a second term in 2024. He has stumbled before going up the stairs and onto Air Force One and once got caught up in his bike pedals while stopping to talk to reporters near his home in Delaware.
- Biden is far from the first national political figure to stumble in public. President Gerald Ford fell down while walking off Air Force One in 1975, Sen. Bob Dole (R–Kansas) fell off the stage at a campaign rally in 1996, and President Barack Obama tripped walking up the stairs to a stage at a 2012 event.
- Former President Donald Trump’s gingerly walk down a ramp at the 2020 West Point commencement also sparked concerns about his health.
What they’re saying: White House communications director Ben LaBolt tweeted that Biden was fine and that “there was a sandbag on stage while he was shaking hands.”
- Biden’s personal doctor said after the president’s most recent physical exam in February that he “remains a healthy, vigorous 80-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.”
- Trump commented on Biden’s fall during a campaign rally in Iowa, saying, “If he fell, it’s too bad. We gotta just get this thing back on track. That’s a bad place to fall when you’re making, I think it was the Air Force Academy, right? That’s not inspiring.”