On Friday, President Joe Biden experienced a near-fall while ascending a short set of stairs to the podium at an event in Philadelphia.
The occurrence was captured on video and subsequently shared widely online, with many commentators highlighting his recurring struggles with falls, which have caused notable worry within the White House.
“The president was waving at supporters at the Tioga Marine Terminal, when he walked to a stage to climb the stairs and suddenly tripped. He appeared to stumble twice before making it to the podium,” Fox News reported. “During his speech, he announced the building of a hydrogen hub as part of his clean energy initiative.”
Joe Biden tripping & falling has become so routine, than most Americans don't even pay attention anymore.
But we sure as Hell should be paying attention – because the rest of the world certainly is.
Stumbling Mumbling Joe – today in Philadelphia pic.twitter.com/2PNM5nivWJ
— Michael Hustus 🇺🇸 (@HustusMichael) October 13, 2023
At the end of last month, President Joe Biden had a close call while descending Air Force One’s staircase at Detroit Metro Airport.
The incident occurred shortly after news broke that his campaign team was taking measures to prevent the president from tripping in public during the election season.
The 80-year-old president has been diagnosed with “significant spinal arthritis,” and has had several tripping incidents since then, leading many to question his age and physical fitness for office.
In response, Biden’s staff has taken increasingly stringent steps to ensure his safety; he now wears tennis shoes in public and limits stair climbs whenever possible.
Additionally, he is receiving physical therapy from Drew Contreras – a specialist who previously worked with former President Barack Obama – and is boarding Air Force One via shorter stairs to a lower level as an additional precautionary measure.
These efforts have not gone unnoticed, prompting several social media users to express their opinions on the matter.
However, many believe it is important that precautions are taken in light of Biden’s age and medical condition so that further injury can be avoided.
“Some senior Democrats privately have been frustrated with Biden’s advance team for months, citing the sandbag incident and noting that the president often appears not to know which direction to go after he speaks at a podium,” Axios reported.
Biden’s balance difficulties are likely the result of what his physician has diagnosed as “a combination of significant spinal arthritis” and “mild post-fracture foot arthritis.”
A misstep during the election season could potentially have a detrimental effect on Biden’s campaign, as he is already being scrutinized due to his age.
According to an Associated Press poll conducted this summer, 77% of respondents believed that Biden was too old to be effective for another four years in office; this opinion was shared by 89% of Republicans and 69% of Democrats.
Additionally, a survey conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News revealed that three out of five Democrats would prefer someone else to be their party’s nominee for 2024.
Professor James Gordon, Associate Dean and Chair of the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at University of Southern California, commented to Axios: “I have never heard the term ‘proprioceptive maintenance maneuvers.’ It is not a clinical term in standard use.”
White House spokesperson Andrew Bates told Axios: “This isn’t new — it was proactively and transparently disclosed in a 2021 report from the president’s doctor and again this year.”
“This article fits an unfortunate pattern of media attempting to sensationalize something that has long been public, rather than covering the president’s very real achievements for hardworking Americans,” Bates added.
Some Democrats are apprehensive that a similar incident to the one with Republican Bob Dole in September 1996, when he fell off a stage at a rally shortly before the election, may occur with Joe Biden.