President Joe Biden sought to save face Thursday night after his fall on stage at the Air Force Academy graduation earlier that day in Colorado.
President Joe Biden falls at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation ceremony. pic.twitter.com/bpxXJPp7KF
— KUSI News (@KUSINews) June 1, 2023
“I got sandbagged,” he said as reporters shouted questions from a distance.
Asked about his health, Biden skipped a step and kept walking.
— Molly Nagle (@MollyNagle3) June 1, 2023
Biden appeared to take a hard fall on the stage.
The Associated Press noted two small black sandbags were on the stage to keep the teleprompter in place. The teleprompter had been used by Biden in his speech moments before his fall.
“He’s fine. There was a sandbag on stage while he was shaking hands,” White House communications director Ben LaBolt tweeted afterward.
He's fine. There was a sandbag on stage while he was shaking hands. https://t.co/jP4sJiirHh
— Ben LaBolt (@WHCommsDir) June 1, 2023
Public figures taking a tumble is not unheard of; neither are falls taken by people far younger than Biden. But with the president being 80 years old and having announced plans to run for re-election, the fall became more than a momentary bit of social media video.
"No one should feel good about watching the president fall. While this is hard to see, we have to be honest with the American people," Republican presidential candidate and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley told Fox News, noting that the incident was witnessed around the world.
“Our enemies see the same TV clips and wonder who is in charge,” she said. Haley also noted that electing a president who might not be up to four years is essentially electing his running mate, which in this case is Vice President Kamala Harris.
"Joe Biden is the oldest president in history, and if he’s re-elected, we could end up with a President Harris," she said. "This is why I have repeatedly called for mental competency tests and term limits for politicians. It’s time for a new generation of leadership in Washington."
Writing in an Op-Ed in the New York Post, columnist Rich Lowry said the incident encapsulates the issue the nation and especially Biden’s own party are facing.
“If Biden were to do a face plant, even down a few steps, it could be very ugly. It’d be a symbol of US decrepitude. It’s one thing to have a senior senator from California who obviously should have hung it up several years ago; it’s another to have a US president lacking the agility to get around easily and safely anymore,” he wrote, referring to issues surrounding the capability of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.
“Democrats should be thinking long and hard whether this is the vessel they want to ride into 2024 — and to portray as up for performing the job of president of the United States in a second term extending all the way until January 2029,” Lowry wrote.
“The conservative intellectual James Burnham famously said, ‘If there’s no alternative, there’s no problem.’ There may be no good alternative to Biden for Democrats, but having to hold your breath every time he climbs or descends the steps of Air Force One is a big problem and one that isn’t going away from now until Nov. 5, 2024,” he said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.