President Joe Biden jokingly admitted he was "stuck in a punching bag" after tripping and falling on stage during the US Air Force Academy graduation ceremony. The incident occurred as Biden was greeting the graduates in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and turned to run back to his seat.
Although he fell, the president was quickly assisted by an Air Force officer and members of his secret service. Despite the concerns of onlookers, Biden, the oldest president in US history at 80, returned to his seat to watch the rest of the ceremony.
Upon his return to the White House, Biden jokingly told reporters that he was "sandbaged" before pretending to run into the residence. Two small sandbags were revealed to have been holding the teleprompter used by Biden and other speakers onstage. Video footage showed Biden pointing to one of the punching bags as he was helped up.
The president walked back to his seat without assistance and then jogged back to his trailer as the ceremony concluded. He didn't answer questions when he returned to his plane. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that Biden was "totally fine" and boarded the plane with a smile.
Critics have raised concerns about Biden's age, suggesting that he may be too old to run for a second term. Recent polls indicate that the majority of American voters share these concerns, with Biden turning 82 at the start of a possible second term. Incidents like the crash at the Air Force Academy could contribute to these concerns.
Former President Donald Trump, a potential 2024 Republican candidate, reacted to the incident, expressing hope for Biden's well-being but also criticizing him.
President Biden's last physical exam occurred in February, where the White House physician affirmed his fitness for work. Although Biden walks with a "stiff gait" due to wear and tear on his spine and nerve damage in his feet, his condition remains unchanged from the previous exam.
Biden joins a list of other presidents who have experienced difficult incidents on camera, including Barack Obama in 2012 and Gerald Ford in 1975.
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