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Biden using Air Force One’s ‘lower stairs’ to avoid more embarrassing falls: Report

President Joe Biden waves as he boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Feb. 5, 2021. (Official White House Photo by Carlos Fyfe)
July 25, 2023

President Joe Biden is reportedly adopting new practices for boarding Air Force One, sparking discussions around the 80-year-old president’s ability to manage the challenges of his role while campaigning for the 2024 re-election.

According to Politico, the usually unnoticed boarding procedure has turned into a spotlight of attention for the president, with Biden choosing to use the lower stairs of the presidential aircraft, as confirmed by two of his advisers.

This shift, seemingly motivated by an intent to limit the chances of missteps and make the president’s travel more comfortable, comes amid concerns from Democrats, voters, and Biden’s aides about the impact of his age on his ability to serve a second term. The president, however, has refuted these concerns, considering his age an asset.

Biden recently told MSNBC, “I have acquired a hell of a lot of wisdom. I know more than the vast majority of people. I’m more experienced than anybody who has ever run for the office and I think I’ve proven myself to be honorable as well as also effective.”

The noticeable change in the president’s boarding routine reportedly began a few months ago, diverging from the norm where the president usually ascends via the grander doorway near the front of the aircraft.

Notably, this change in boarding procedure also coincides with a shift in Biden’s attire – he has been seen sporting sneakers, a break from his traditional dress shoes. A person close to the president cited age-related comfort as the reason for this switch.

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In response to questions regarding the president’s mobility, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not confirm any health-related issues. “I don’t have any decision process to walk through. I’m sure there’s a protocol that’s used for Air Force One,” she stated.

Biden has made several domestic and international trips, such as to London, Vilnius, Helsinki, and other domestic locations, with this new routine of using the lower stairs.

A White House official explained that a “series of factors” determine whether “there is a formal greeting planned for the tarmac where we expect that press will want an official photo at the bottom of the tall stairs.”

“There’s not one hard and fast rule — it is a decision made on a variety of factors in a wide range of settings and circumstances,” the official said.

While the administration has attempted to maintain focus on Biden’s legislative agenda ahead of the 2024 presidential race, the recent alteration in Air Force One boarding protocol highlights the constant vigilance of the public and media in assessing the president’s physical capabilities amidst his campaign for re-election.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.