NATIONAL NEWS

Biden says he got ‘sandbagged’ after he tripped and fell onstage at Air Force graduation

Jun 1, 2023, 1:19 PM | Updated: 6:52 pm

President Joe Biden falls on stage during the 2023 United States Air Force Academy Graduation Cerem...

President Joe Biden falls on stage during the 2023 United States Air Force Academy Graduation Ceremony at Falcon Stadium, Thursday, June 1, 2023, at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — President Joe Biden quipped that he got “sandbagged” Thursday after he tripped and fell — but was uninjured — while onstage at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation.

Biden had been greeting the graduates in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the front of the stage with salutes and handshakes, and turned to jog back toward his seat when he fell. He was helped up by an Air Force officer as well as two members of his U.S. Secret Service detail.

Onlookers, including some members of the official delegation onstage, watched in concern before Biden, who at age 80 is the oldest president in U.S. history, returned to his seat to view the end of the ceremony.

“I got sandbagged,” the president told reporters with a smile when he arrived back at the White House on Thursday evening before pretending to jog into the residence. Two small black sandbags had been onstage supporting the teleprompter used by Biden and other speakers at the graduation.

“He’s fine,” White House communications director Ben LaBolt tweeted after the incident. “There was a sandbag on stage while he was shaking hands.”

Biden has been dogged by questions about his age and his fitness to serve, and his missteps have become fodder for political rivals as he campaigns for a second term in 2024. He has stumbled before going up the stairs and onto Air Force One and he once got caught up in his bike pedals while stopping to talk to reporters near his home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Biden’s personal doctor said after the president’s most recent physical exam in February that Biden “remains a healthy, vigorous 80-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.” Dr. Kevin O’Connor also documented the president’s stiffened gait, which O’Connor said was the result of spinal arthritis, a previously broken foot and neuropathy in the Biden’s feet.

Biden is far from the first national political figure to stumble in public.

President Gerald Ford fell down while fell off the stage at a campaign rally in 1996. President Barack Obama tripped walking up the stairs to a stage at a 2012 event. “I was so fired up, I missed a stair” he told the crowd.

President Donald Trump’s gingerly walk down a ramp at the 2020 West Point commencement also sparked concerns about his health.

Trump, 76, was campaigning in Iowa when he heard about Biden’s stumble and alluded to his own episode.

“He actually fell down? Well I hope he wasn’t hurt,” Trump said after an audience member told him about what had happened to Biden. “The whole thing is crazy. You gotta be careful about that … ’cause you don’t want that, even if you have to tiptoe down a ramp.”

The audience laughed as Trump recounted slowly inching his way down what he said had been a slippery ramp at the U.S. Military Academy graduation.

“If he fell, it’s too bad,” the former president said. “We gotta just get this thing back on track. That’s a bad place to fall when you’re making, I think it was the Air Force Academy, right? That’s not inspiring.”

Meanwhile, GOP presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis used the opportunity to take a political shot at Biden while at a campaign event in New Hampshire.

“We hope and wish Joe Biden a swift recovery from any injuries he may have sustained,” he said, “but we also wish the United States of America a swift recovery from the injuries it has sustained because of Joe Biden and his policies.”

National News

FILE - Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference outside federal court in Washington, Dec. 15, ...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani’s bankruptcy case was thrown out. Here’s some key things to know

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge threw out the bankruptcy case of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Friday. He cited repeated “uncooperative conduct,” including a failure to comply with court orders and disclose sources of income. While Giuliani’s creditors can now pursue other legal remedies, such as seizing his apartments and other […]

50 minutes ago

FILE- This undated photo provided by the University of Kansas shows researcher Feng “Franklin” ...

Associated Press

Court voids last conviction of Kansas researcher in case that started as Chinese espionage probe

A federal appeals court has reversed the conviction of a researcher who was accused of hiding work he did in China while employed at the University of Kansas. Feng “Franklin” Tao was convicted in April 2022 of three counts of wire fraud and one count of making a materially false statement. U.S. District Judge Julie […]

59 minutes ago

This photo provided by the International Fund for Animal Welfare shows several stranded dolphins on...

Associated Press

Dolphin mass stranding on Cape Cod found to be the largest in US history

Rescuers who helped free more than a hundred dolphins from the Cape Cod shoreline say they’ve confirmed that the mass stranding that began June 28 was the largest involving dolphins in U.S. history. There were two prior events on record in Hawaii and the Florida Keys where dolphin species were observed circling in shallow water, […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

A popular tour guide’s death leads to more scrutiny of border issues

Kristie Thibodeaux’s gunfire death made headlines first because it happened in the French Quarter — New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood and a place where residents of historic homes and owners of tourist-dependent restaurants and clubs have long worried about recurring violent crime. Then came the news that one of three suspects in the armed robbery and […]

2 hours ago

FILE -FILE - A Delta Air Lines jetliner is shown at Denver International Airport in Denver, June 26...

Associated Press

Delta Air Lines adopts new rules for flight attendant uniforms after Palestinian pin flap

ATLANTA (AP) — Delta Air Lines is changing its employee uniform policy following a turbulent ride through a social media storm started by a passenger’s outrage over two flight attendants photographed wearing Palestinian pins. The uproar over the July 10 post, which described the Palestinian pins as “Hamas badges,” led Delta to ban its employees […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Man accused of holding girlfriend captive in Minnesota college dorm room reaches plea deal

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A man who was accused of holding his girlfriend captive in her dorm room at a Minnesota college for three days while raping, beating and waterboarding her has reached a plea deal that calls for a sentence of up to 7 1/2 years. Keanu Avery Labatte, 20, of Granite Falls, […]

4 hours ago

Biden says he got ‘sandbagged’ after he tripped and fell onstage at Air Force graduation