Despite using a simpler, shorter stairway to board Air Force One on Thursday, President Biden again slipped as he ascended the stairs.
The 80-year-old president appeared to brace himself for impact when he took a slip halfway up the 14-step staircase leading to the presidential plane in Helsinki, Finland, but swiftly recovered and made it up to the lower entrance.
As Air Force One prepared to leave for Joint Base Andrews following the president’s meeting with Nordic leaders following a two-day NATO summit in Lithuania, Biden turned and waved to spectators at Helsinki-Vantaan International Airport.
Biden stumbles a bit as he boards Air Force One — using the smaller stairs — en route to the United States. He took no questions. pic.twitter.com/UxCA75kdQP
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 13, 2023
Since suffering a serious injury at the Air Force Academy in Colorado last month after tripping over a sandbag during a graduation ceremony, the president has been seen boarding Air Force One utilizing a shorter flight of stairs.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary for the White House, told reporters last month that she was not aware of “any decision process” on which staircase the president will use to board Air Force One.
When the weather was bad, previous presidents apparently used the shorter stairs to board and disembark the highly customized Boeing 747-200B series planes.
The president appeared to have fallen while attempting to board Air Force One at least four times, the most recent incident occurring on Thursday.
In February, Biden was seen falling forward halfway up the stairs to the plane leaving Warsaw, Poland, demonstrating that he had trouble maintaining his balance while returning from a foreign trip.
The president was climbing the lengthier flight of steps in that instance.
After the president’s yearly physical earlier this year, White House physician Kevin O’Connor wrote in a five-page report that Biden has a stiff walk caused by “significant spinal arthritis, mild post-fracture foot arthritis, and a mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of the feet.”
After a week filled with gaffes, including calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “Vladimir” and referring to Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdóttir as a “daughter of Ireland,” Biden, the oldest president in US history, departs Europe on Thursday night. He also skipped the summit’s opening dinner, where important diplomacy frequently occurs.