Subtle Change to Air Force One Boarding Procedure Follows String of Troubling Biden Incidents


On Wednesday, Politico ran an article that began with the words, “Everyone noticed the lack of socks.”

The piece, entitled “Biden downplays age talk — but subtle accommodations are being made,” discussed the bizarre appearance of President Biden on a recent Sunday when he stepped off Marine One, his bare feet stuck into sneakers.

The piece also covered another concession the White House seems to have made for the aging president — he is no longer taking the grander, more traditional stairway up Air Force One near the front of the aircraft.

Instead, Biden is taking the shorter, retractable stairway that is usually only used during emergencies or bad weather.

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During the in-flight gathering, Bloomberg’s Justin Sink posed a direct question to press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, inquiring about President Biden’s choice of using the lower stairs to board Air Force One.

Sink asked whether this decision was due to “mobility problems” or was it “to address — you know, he’s had a couple incidents falling on the stairs getting up and you guys just decided that it would be better for him?”

“I don’t have any decision process to walk through,” Jean-Pierre reportedly replied. “I’m sure there’s a protocol that’s used for the — for Air Force One. I just don’t have one.”

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While the White House maintains that the decision to use the lower stairs is based on various logistical factors, some observers can’t help but wonder if this is an intentional move to accommodate the 80-year-old president.

According to WTRF-TV, as of July, the president had stumbled at least four times in 2023 alone.

During the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, in May 2023, there was a moment when President Biden appeared to almost lose his footing while descending a set of eight steps at the Itsukushima Shrine.

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In February 2023, during his visit to Eastern Europe, including a surprise visit to Kyiv to mark the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Biden stumbled while ascending the stairs of Air Force One as he prepared to depart from Poland.

In March 2023, while departing from Alabama after commemorating the anniversary of a civil rights march in Selma, Biden stumbled again while ascending the steps of Air Force One.

At an Air Force Academy commencement ceremony in Colorado Springs in June, Biden tripped and fell to the stage following his speech.

In July, Biden appeared to trip again, this time on the shorter stairs.

There have been several other falls since the president took office, according WTRF.

In May 2022, while preparing to depart for Illinois from Andrews Air Force Base, he appeared to lose his balance while walking up the steps.

In June 2022, he fell on Air Force One’s steps before taping an interview with comedian Jimmy Kimmel in Los Angeles.

Also in June 2022, Biden fell off his bicycle while riding in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Additionally, in March 2021, Biden tripped three times while climbing the stairs of Air Force One before finally falling over. The White House attributed this fall to windy weather.

In November 2020, while he was still president-elect, Biden broke his foot after reportedly tripping on a rug while chasing his dog.

The president’s physical fragility presents a delicate challenge for his advisors as they strive to maintain the focus on his achievements and leadership rather than the limitations that come with age. The optics of his many stumbles do not help their efforts.

Nancy Pelosi, who at 83 is no stranger to the effects of aging, has urged Biden to embrace his age, highlighting the value of experience.

However, the political reality is unforgiving. It’s challenging to embody stability when you are the oldest person ever to hold the highest office in the land and cannot maintain your own balance.

Aides are doing their best to minimize situations that might highlight any signs of physical frailty. The recent decision to avoid certain gatherings or leave early from others is undoubtedly aimed at easing the burdens of the presidency for an aging leader.

Biden’s wardrobe also reveals a willingness to accommodate his age. While he once resisted anything other than dress shoes, for fear of looking unpresidential, he has eased up on that stance lately. The comfort of sneakers has become a concession to the realities of aging, as has the use of the shorter stairs on Air Force One.

The hope is to keep the focus on Biden’s successes and to showcase his resilience as a leader.

But no matter how carefully orchestrated, it is difficult to completely obscure the physical toll that the presidency takes on any individual, let alone an 80-year-old.

Pointing out Biden’s age and fragility is not unkindness; it is necessary.

America needs someone strong enough to care for and protect the nation from harm.

It cannot be someone who isn’t able, right now, to even care for and protect himself.

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Rachel Emmanuel has served as the director of content on a Republican congressional campaign and writes content for a popular conservative book franchise.
Rachel M. Emmanuel has served as the Director of Content on a Republican Congressional campaign and writes for a popular Conservative book franchise.