President Biden fell three times when attempting to board Air Force One on Friday, conjuring up memories of the mainstream media hyperventilating over former President Donald Trump cautiously walking down a ramp last year.
Reporters and pundits sounded the alarm about Trump’s well-being for what they believed were signs of declining health during his appearance at a West Point commencement ceremony in June, when Trump was seen cautiously walking down a ramp from the stage.
A clip of Trump’s cautious walk shared on Twitter by left-wing journalist Aaron Rapar accumulated over 13.1 million views. The footage essentially dominated an entire news cycle and liberal pundits even used it as the impetus to question if something was wrong with Trump neurologically.
It remains to be seen if 78-year-old Biden’s triple fall will receive a fraction of the attention Trump received for walking gingerly.
"Honestly no one would care that much about an old man tripping but the NYT, CNN and others went all in on speculative coverage about Trump walking down a ramp so here we are with the media having to eat their own hostile and corrosive coverage," journalist Mark Hemingway observed.
The New York Times ran the headline, "Trump’s Halting Walk Down Ramp Raises New Health Questions."
"Mr. Trump — who turned 74 on Sunday, the oldest a U.S. president has been in his first term — was recorded hesitantly descending the ramp one step at a time after he delivered an address to graduating cadets at the New York-based academy on Saturday. The academy’s superintendent, Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, walked alongside him. Mr. Trump sped up slightly for the final three steps, as he got to the bottom," Times reporter Maggie Haberman wrote.
"Serious question: what is going on with him? His supporters have tried so hard to get the media to question Joe Biden’s mental and physical fitness but they so often engage in projection it seems worth inquiring," MSNBC host Joy Reid tweeted at the time.
"The matter of a President's health is of great importance to the American public," Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire said on MSNBC, noting that Trump regularly questioned Biden’s fitness for office.
"It is absolutely harder to make the case when we see video like this where the president himself, he's having momentarily stumbles, momentary lapses, straining for a word or whatever it might be," Lemire continued.
CNN was particularly obsessed with Trump’s cautious walk, as CNN's Alisyn Camerota said the president walking "very haltingly" could be a cause for concern.
"Maybe he just has a hard time going down a gently sloping ramp," she said before asking Dr. Sanjay Gupta, "But do you see something, possibly neurological that could be throwing off his balance?"
Gupta responded that a lot of neurologists were talking about the situation. Meanwhile, CNN’s Chris Cillizza said it was an important story because Trump was 74 at the time.
"We know so little about Donald Trump’s past medical history," Cillizza said as the liberal network’s on-screen graphic said, "Trump’s unsteady walk, arm lift raise health questions."
CNN anchor John King said Trump looked "a little shaky" on the ramp. CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip pondered whether Trump was being "transparent" about his health based on the "latest incidents."
Biden even got in on the act, mocking Trump on the campaign trail in a moment that will presumably come back to haunt him.
"Look at how he steps and look at how I step. Watch how I run up ramps and he stumbles down ramps. Come on," Biden said.
Trump responded to speculation by noting that the ramp was slippery, but Haberman didn’t buy it. "There was no evidence that the ramp was slippery, and the skies were clear during the ceremony," the Times reporter tweeted.
White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield explained that Biden was uninjured from the triple fall. Another spokesperson said it was due to the strong wind.
"I know folks have seen that President Biden slipped on his way up the stairs to AF1, but I’m happy to report that he is just fine and did not even require any attention from the medical team who travels with him," she said. "Nothing more than a misstep on the stairs."
Biden in December fractured his foot while chasing his dog.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.