Former President Donald Trump has mocked President Joe Biden for using the ‘children’s stairs’ to board Air Force One – while prodding the president over photos that showed him napping on the beach while at a Monday rally in New Hampshire. The visit to the Granite State saw Trump, 77, finally make his candidacy official – after which he spoke to supporters for some 100 minutes in Derry and gleefully slapped around his embattled successor.
Specifically, the GOP frontrunner honed in on the 80-year-old commander-in-chief’s series of stumbling incidents, and the fact that he has been using a shorter staircase than usual to board and deplane the storied Air Force One. ‘Crooked Joe can’t even walk up the children’s stairs,’ Trump said to laughs, citing how Biden has avoided climbing up the sometimes-wobbly – usually 18-foot – set of steps trucked over to the plane’s door. The comments came hours after Trump visited the New Hampshire statehouse in Concord to register his name on the 2024 Republican ballot, and after stars like 50 Cent slammed the president for taking a beach vacation while the war in Israel rages.
A few hours later, First Lady Jill, when asked, insisted at a high-brow fundraiser at the home of Anna Wintour that there was no one she’d rather have in the White House Situation Room than her husband Joe. Back in New Hampshire, Trump took notice of the renewed scrutiny on his rival, using his time in front of the crowd to repeatedly reference the time multiple times he has stumbled on the tall stairs trucked over to the plane’s upper door. He started by saying that prospective voters would likely want a leader who is able walk off Air Force One ‘nice and high’, while being able to ‘wave at everyone’ without fear of falling. Citing the much shorter, sturdier set of stairs that fold out from the belly of the plane being used by Biden after his widely seen spills, he tore into his prospective opponent: ‘This guys goes to the little stairs. We call them the children’s stairs. And now he’s made it a common practice because he can’t quite make it up or down,’ Trump said. ‘He has a bigger time making it up. Usually that’s easier.’
Earlier in the day, after casting his ballot, Trump likened himself to South African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela – in an apparent reference to the multiple federal and state cases being filed against him. The comments came as the ex-commander-in-chief continues to insist that he is being targeted for political reasons, obliquely accusing Biden and his backers of attempting to stomp out the man who is likely their biggest threat. Earlier Monday on Truth Social, Trump had shared an Instagram post from the rapper 50 Cent who had posted a DailyMail.com story previewing the Bidens Delaware trip with the commentary, ‘hey Joe, get the [Expletive] up, we in trouble man.’
As the story was written in advance of the Rehoboth trip, the photo used was one from August, which depicted the president asleep on the beach alongside the first lady reading a book. The pair’s return to the White House from the same beach in Rehoboth – made in the hours ahead of Trump’s campaign event – provided the Republican with ripe fodder for the again-aspiring president. ‘You know he goes to the beach a lot right?’ Trump said during one portion of his speech. ‘If he would have gone to the beach and not done anything, we would have the best border,’ the ex-president claimed. The ex-president also brought up Biden’s speech last September, in which the president spoke in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, lit up in red, and warned the country about Trump and his MAGA Republicans. ‘I watched Biden with that one, remember the one with the red background? Looked like the devil,’ Trump recalled. ‘The same set designer who does the same set of him at the beach,’ the ex-president joked. ‘Somebody think he looks good at the beach,’ he continued. ‘I don’t think so.’ ‘You know those chairs are meant so a child can pick them up,’ he added.
Despite Trump’s many trips to Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster to golf during his four years in office, the ex-president characterized Biden’s beach trip as a dereliction of duty. ‘You see this guy walking around. And then he sleeps on the beach all day long. And we have potentially World War III going on,’ Trump said. ‘It’s horrible. It’s horrible to watch, it’s horrible to see. But he made that speech with that horrible red background and that background might have been worse than the beach,’ Trump said, circling back to last year’s address. ‘And he talks about MAGA, MAGA, MAGA.’ At Monday’s campaign event, Trump took advantage of those polls that show Americans more wary of Biden’s advanced age than his own. It also doesn’t help that Biden has suffered from a series of tripping and falling incidents since taking office in January 2021.
The first, just two months into his term, happened when Biden walked up Air Force One’s larger staircase while at Joint Base Andrews just before noon for a flight to Atlanta. After stumbling briefly, he gripped onto the railing before steadying himself and losing his footing a second time, and then a third that saw him fall to his knees. After the fall, he was helped back up by the guardrails and continued up the stairs without incident. Once on the plane, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisted to reporters that he was ‘100 percent fine’ – but several more similar incidents would follow, sparking concern from Republicans and Democrats alike. The next fall was again only a few months removed, and saw Biden fall on the 18-foot steps of Air Force One a second time. It happened as he was on his way to Illinois to tout a downtick in inflation seen in May of last year, and saw him slip during his ascent similar to the first time. Again, like the last scare, he managed to regain his composure, and unlike the previous, did not hit the ground.
Biden also fell off his bike in Rehoboth Beach in June 2022, getting his foot stuck in a toe guard and falling over sideways. After that, Biden managed to stay on his feet for another eight months – before again falling on the steps of Air Force One, now for a third time. Seen in February of this year, the near-fall occurred as Biden was ending a visit to Europe, climbing the steps with his customary vigor, before losing his footing. Like the last time, though, he did not fall fully – able to use his hands to catch himself. The very next month, Biden’s again wobbled on the same, still 18-foot steps during a trip to Alabama, briefly losing his balance before carrying on. Then in May, Biden tripped again while walking on the stairs at the Itsukushima Shrine in Japan, stumbling as he walked down the stairs in his rush to greet Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The president was running late at the time – and all the other G7 leaders had arrived on Miyajima Island and were waiting on him to begin the tour of the holy site.
At some point afterwards, he made the decision to shift to using the shorter set of stairs during his trips up and down Air Force – but still managed to stumble on them during another trip to Philadelphia. This time, the president appeared to lose his balance while ascending the short flight of stairs on October 13, specifically while surmounting a trio of metal steps with a railing just as he was walking to get on stage. Again, he quickly caught his balance and made it up the stairs to begin his speech, addressing the issue of American hostages detained in Gaza. Axios reported in September that Biden was working with a physical therapist and wearing sneakers more in an attempt not to trip – precautions that have appeared to help somewhat, but not entirely. The issue in Israel – still ongoing – has thrust even more scrutiny on the president’s mental capacity and health, spurring figures like Trump and 50, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, to continue to question his abilities at a particularly crucial time.
After the rapper’s interjection on the matter, Conservative influencers also flocked to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, to throw their support. ‘Imagine how many people would be alive today in Europe and the Middle East if Trump had stayed in office and these wars never occurred,’ Jack Posobeic, former Navy intelligence officer and editor for conservative website Human Events, wrote. Alex Brusewitz, CEO of political consulting company X Strategies LLC, echoed the sentiment: ‘Rapper 50 Cent calls out Joe Biden for sleeping on the beach while our country and world suffers because of his failures.’
The fresh round of criticism was then referenced by Trump – whose comments gave way to those delivered by Jill at Wintour’s $12million townhouse in Manhattan. Before introducing the first lady for her self-serving speech, Wintour, wearing a black dress but ditching her signature sunglasses, touted President Biden’s recent trip to Israel as ‘an act of moral courage.’ ‘First Lady Biden, who is here with us tonight, is a part of what makes President Biden such an important leader in times like this. She’s part of his moral courage,’ Wintour said, months after putting Jill on the cover of her own Vogue magazine. ‘Dr. Biden has been called a First Lady for all of us. She has this incredible ability to connect with all Americans from all walks of life, and all political affiliations. She has that smile. She has that light. And she looks fantastic in everything,’ she added.
Jill Biden, also wearing a black dress, thanked Wintour for her support of the Bidens over the past years, before bitterly defending her husband amid the wave of criticism. ‘You’ve been such a generous friend to me and to Joe,’ she said. ‘I wouldn’t wish the tragic events of the last two weeks on any American president,’ she continued, getting more serious. ‘But I’m so grateful that Joe is our president during these unpredictable times. In these moments,’ she elaborated, ‘with these perils that the world is facing, there is nobody that I would rather have sitting in the Situation Room right now than my husband and he probably is actually there.’
Earlier in the day, Biden noted how he was headed to the Situation Room for a briefing on the violence in the Middle East – while Trump, railing about Biden’s response to the Hamas attack, likened his indictments to the unjust imprisonment of Mandela, who spent 27 years in a cell for opposing his country’s apartheid system. Some have equated the oppression seen in that country to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians – a stance that Trump did not appear to hold through the reference. Last week, Trump faced criticism from old friend Sen. Lindsey Graham, who panned him for praising Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah and criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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