US President Joe Biden stumbled and fell three times as he walked up the stairs of Air Force One, sparking fresh fears over his health.
But the White House has downplayed the incident, saying Biden, 78, lost his steps due to a ‘fresh breeze’.
Biden was boarding the aircraft at around noon yesterday when he stumbled. Stoically, he reached for the railing, gripping it and steadying himself as he kept going. But he lost his footing soon after, and then for a third time.
The third trip was apparently the worst, with Biden on his knees. In spite of his age, he got back up carried on walking up the stairs before pausing for a a salute. Biden was flying from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to Atlanta, Georgia.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that Biden was “100 percent fine”. She blamed the incident on wind. “It’s pretty windy outside. It’s very windy. I almost fell coming up the steps myself,” Karine is quoted as saying.
The fall worsens speculation over Biden’s cognitive and physical health. In addition to apparent physical infirmity, Biden has in recent months had a series of verbal mix-ups. Only this week, he referred to Vice President Kamala Harris as “President Harris”.
Biden is the oldest U.S President in history. Ronald Reagan, the second oldest was 77 when he left office; he had been elected at 69.
Trump was 70 when elected, and left at 74.