Biden handlers forced to ‘adjust for age,’ roll out shorter Air Force One staircase

What’s next, a Hoveround leading up to Air Force One?

More and more, President Biden has been using Air Force One’s shorter, retractable stairs to board the presidential aircraft through its belly, reducing the number of steps from 26 on the taller staircase that leads to the entrance near the front of the plane to just 14.

The change here is part of “subtle accommodations” being employed as a result of Biden’s advanced age, according to Politico — other accommodations noted include using sneakers as a “concession to comfort necessitated by age” when appropriate and declining dinner invitations.

“The new routine looks to be another subtle accommodation to the president’s age. It is hiding in plain sight, although the White House won’t concede that interpretation,” Politico reported.

The lower staircase has traditionally been used when weather is a factor, but the political news outlet detailed Biden’s recent use of them:

Last week, Biden used the small steps to board Air Force One for every flight on his European trip: to London, Vilnius, Helsinki and back to Washington. None of those arrivals or departures — all of which are public and witnessed by the traveling press pool — were marked by inclement weather. He used the large stairs to descend from the plane upon arrival in London, Vilnius and Helsinki, when his hosts arranged more formal greeting ceremonies, but not to climb back aboard. And the overseas trip came on the heels of several recent domestic ones where Biden predominantly used the lower stairs on visits to and from Rocky Mount, N.C., Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

 

The irony here is that even the shorter staircase can pose a challenge for the octogenarian commander-in-chief as seen last week when Biden almost faceplanted a second time in a little over a month. He was boarding Air Force One to depart Helsinki, Finland, after a two-day NATO summit in Lithuania and stumbled before catching himself.

That near disaster came just over a month after he tripped at the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony, falling all the way to the ground and needing help to get back up — a sandbag was fingered as the culprit here.

Of course, the most infamous Biden stumble on the steps of Air Force One occurred in March 2021 when he fell three consecutive times, crashing to his knee the third time before finally righting himself. There was also an incident in Warsaw, Poland, in February where the president tripped while ascending Air Force One after his secret train trip into Ukraine and he had a major stumble the following month as he boarded the presidential aircraft en route to Selma, Alabama.

And who can forget Biden falling off his bicycle last summer near his Delaware beach home?

Tom Tillison

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