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Joe Biden falls on Air Force One steps heading back from Ukraine trip

Biden is oldest ever US president

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Thursday 23 February 2023 14:47 GMT
Joe Biden stumbles up steps of Air Force 1 in Poland

Joe Biden appeared to stumble making his way up the stairs to Air Force One as the president embarked on a return flight back from his surprise visit to Ukraine and Poland.

In footage of the incident, the president appeared to trip about halfway up the steps, before regaining his balance and waving then getting inside the plane

At the age of 80, Mr Biden is the oldest US president.

White House doctors examined the president last week for a physical, with White House physician Kevin O’Connor writing that Mr Biden has a stiff gait as the result of “significant spinal arthritis, mild post-fracture foot arthritis and a mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of the feet,” the New York Post reports.

Earlier this month, a large group of congressional Republicans called on Mr Biden to take a cognitive fitness test, echoing similar demands Democrats made of Donald Trump.

It’s not the first time Mr Biden has had a fall in public.

In 2021, he fell repeatedly walking onto the presidential jet, which aides said occurred because of gusts of wind.

“It was very windy. I almost fell coming up the steps myself. He is doing 100 percent,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at the time. “He’s doing fine. He’s preparing for the trip just fine.”

The following year, Mr Biden was filmed falling off his bike in Delaware, though he got up quickly, apparently unharmed, and answered questions from the press.

The topic of age and fitness has been especially present in Washington in recent months.

Earliest this month, senator Dianne Feinstein of California, 89, announced she wouldn’t seek re-election.

Ms Feinstein is the oldest senator and longest-serving Democrat in the upper chamber. As The Independent has reported, she has faced numerous media reports about her mental acuity.

Meanwhile, CNN anchor Don Lemon inspired a heated debate on gender, age, and politics, when he claimed 2024 GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley was no longer in her “prime” age”.

His remarks, for which he later apologised, were in response to Ms Haley’s calls for older politicians to take cognitive function tests.

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