President Biden faltered and kept falling in stepping up the steps of Air Force One on Sunday while boarding his flight returning to Delaware from Alabama.
Biden, 80, visited the town of Selma to celebrate the 58th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march during the civil rights period and lobby for Congress to adopt significant electoral reform before making his risky trek up to the plane afterward.
At least three more times, including most recently when leaving Poland after a 3 day trip to Kyiv during Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia, the president stumbled as he ascended the stairs to the plane.
Prior to a trip to Illinois in May 2022, Biden became unbalanced but immediately regained it by clutching the handrail as he boarded the presidential aircraft at Andrews Air Force Base. He fell off his bike while out for a ride in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, a week after stumbling ahead of a flight to Los Angeles for the Summit of the Americas.
During his weekend address at the Conservative Political Action Conference, former President Donald Trump made fun of Biden’s bike incident, and said: “We all smile when he falls down stairs and things. It’s cute when he falls off his bicycle.”
In March 2021, before going to Georgia to criticize Republican-passed state election legislation he dubbed “Jim Crow in the 21st century,” Biden similarly slipped twice and went to one knee while rushing up to Air Force One, according to then-White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
The stumbles have made Biden an easy target for Republicans who regard the president as not physically or intellectually suited to serve. Biden’s “significant spinal arthritis, mild post-fracture foot arthritis and a mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of the feet,”according to a five-page assessment by the president’s physician Kevin O’Connor from February.
Former UN ambassador and GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley has proposed for yearly mental health screenings for elected officials over the age of 75.
In his remarks in Selma, Biden reflected on his time as a “student up north” in 1965 and expressed remorse over missing the activists whose attempted march from Selma to Montgomery was violently suppressed by the police.
Since the 1980s, Biden has claimed varying levels of involvement in the civil rights campaign, once highlighting his work “at an all-black swimming pool in the east side of Wilmington, Delaware,” though he later acknowledged that he “was not an activist” following his unsuccessful 1988 presidential candidacy.
After withdrawing from the race in October 1987, he said, “I was involved in what they were thinking, what they were feeling. But I was not out marching. I was not down in Selma. I was not anywhere else. I was a suburbanite kid who got a dose of exposure to what was happening to black Americans.”
Biden told corporate sponsors during a San Francisco fundraiser that he “got involved in the civil rights movement as a kid.” Biden had previously told Day breakfast participants in 2014 that he “was involved in desegregating movie theaters.”
Even last year, the president admitted to being detained for his involvement in the movement to students at two historically black schools in Atlanta.
In January 2022, he made the statement when speaking on the grounds of Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University, “I did not walk in the shoes of generations of students who walked these grounds, but I walked other grounds.“Because I’m so damn old, I was there as well. You think I’m kidding, man. It seems like yesterday the first time I got arrested. Anyway.”
Although Jill Biden, the first lady, stated in February that her husband is “not done” and will launch his campaign in the coming months, the president has not officially declared his intention to run for president in 2024.