President Biden stumbled after delivering a speech and awarding diplomas to graduates of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs on Thursday. 80 year old Mr. Biden, however, helped and appeared to recover quickly.
Mr. Biden’s fall was captured on video and circulated on social media. He stumbles, falls to his knees and appears to catch himself with his hands on the stage floor. He was assisted by several Air Force officers and Secret Service agents and returned to his seat.
Mr. Biden gave a powerful speech before awarding diplomas to Air Force graduates. He collapsed after handing out the final diploma and returned to his seat.
“He’s fine,” White House communications director Ben LaBolt said in a tweet Thursday afternoon. “There was a sandbag on the stage when he was shaking hands.”
Embarrassing moments are not uncommon for presidents who spend much of their tenure in front of the cameras. President Gerald Ford was repeatedly roasted by comedians for his frequent stumbling during his presidency.
President Donald J. Trump, a day before his 74th birthday in 2020, appeared slow and unsteady as he walked down a ramp from the stage after the West Point commencement ceremony, prompting online speculation about his health.
Already the senior president of the United States, Mr. For Biden, who is asking voters for a second term to extend his life to 86, Thursday’s setback is likely to heighten questions about his health.
The President’s White House Physician, Mr. He admitted that Biden’s gait had stiffened considerably with age, leading him to walk more slowly and less. He’s stumbled in the past: In February, he tripped and caught himself by the hands as he boarded Air Force One on his way back from Warsaw.
Republicans have seized on the president’s stumbles as evidence that he is unfit for office, with some using highly inappropriate images or videos to make their point online.
But Mr. Those close to Biden, including many of his staff, insist that he is very fit and has the energy to get through long, hard days. He exercises daily, they say, and is not overweight.
Mr. Biden acknowledged that the questions about his age were fair, and included a joke about his age in his remarks to graduates before his fall on Thursday.
“When I graduated high school 300 years ago, I applied to the Naval Academy,” he said, prompting laughter.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters who were traveling with the president on Air Force One from Colorado back to Washington that the president was “absolutely fine.”