The near-miss occurred moments after Biden touched down at the Detroit Metro Airport, where he was greeted by United Auto Workers president Shawn Fain, Michigan Lt. Gov. Garland Gilchrist and US Reps. Debbie Dingell, Rashida Tlaib and Shri Thanedar, all Michigan Democrats, the clip shared by radio reporter Alex McLennon shows.
Despite the hair-raising moment, Biden recovered his footing and appeared unbothered by the gaffe.
Footage of the incident, however, quickly caught fire on social media — which was already smoldering from earlier reports that Biden has been doing balancing exercises in order to avoid more public spills as his team frets over polls showing that three-quarters of Americans think he is too old for a second term.
In addition to meeting with physical therapist Drew Contreras, the veteran politician has been spotted opting for sneakers rather than slippery dress shoes, and is using the shorter staircase to help him reach Air Force One’s flight deck.
Needless to say, critics were unimpressed by Tuesday’s stumble.
“This is a terrible look for the President of the United States,” Mike Davis, the former chief counsel for nominations to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), tweeted as the video of the Detroit slip made the rounds on social media.
“Install a chair lift for the geezer in chief,” another sour commenter mocked.
Some onlookers, however, jumped to Biden’s defense.
“Have you ever slightly stumbled walking down stairs in your life?” liberal influencer Brian Krassenstein scoffed.
“Does that mean you are bad at your job or should be fired?” he continued, before adding that “FDR was literally in a wheelchair throughout his presidency.
“I don’t understand the fixation of the GOP with Biden tripping. He’s an old man, he’s going to do that once in a while,” another observer shrugged.
Biden’s balance issues are likely related to arthritis in his spine and foot, the Axios report said Tuesday.
His condition has been under scrutiny in recent months following several troubling incidents — including when he stumbled and fell at the Air Force Academy in June.
Air Force One is a frequent site of Biden’s slips: He was foiled by the stairs up to the aircraft three times in March 2021 alone.
“[The reports are] an unfortunate pattern of media attempting to sensationalize something that has long been public,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said of the public’s ongoing interest in keeping Biden on his toes — literally.
“This isn’t new,” he insisted, “it was proactively and transparently disclosed.”
After brushing off his trip-up, Biden spent 12 minutes with striking auto workers before reboarding Air Force One about an hour later.
Despite his apparent confidence, the president seemed muddled at the strike meeting as well.
Joe Biden slips coming down the SHORT STAIRS.😂😂
— CBKNEWS (@CBKNEWS121) September 26, 2023