Joe Biden fell three times attempting to board Air Force One on his way to Atlanta.
America’s oldest president, 78, recovered to give a salute at the top of the stairs before departing to meet with Asian American community leaders in the wake of the massage parlour massacre.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told White House pool reporters the president was “doing fine” after the fall.
“It was very windy. I almost fell coming up the steps myself. He is doing 100 percent,” she told reporters. “He’s doing fine. He’s preparing for the trip just fine.”
The triple tumble comes amid question over the ageing president’s fitness for office after referring to his vice president as “President Harris”.
Half of Americans were “not confident” that Mr Biden was “physically and mentally up to the job”, with a third concerned, he hasn’t yet held a press conference, according to a Rasmussen poll in March.
US President Joe Biden fell on the stairs of Air Force One before flying to Atlanta today.The 78-year-old tripped three times as he made his way up the stairs.
However, Biden quickly recovered and carried on up the stairs, giving a salute before entering the presidential plane. pic.twitter.com/EdjTiBQ5XD
— TheNewsHawks (@NewsHawksLive) March 19, 2021
The White House announced Mr Biden’s first press conference will be held on his 65th day in office on 25 March.
Mr Biden’s fall on a windy morning at Joint Base Andrews comes after he suffered a hairline fracture in his right foot playing with dog Major in November, after which he was required him to wear a boot for weeks.
Presidential precariousness became a campaign issue during the 2020 election after Donald Trump’s awkward walk down a slight ramp at the West Point military academy.
While it may have been relegated to a footnote of the election cycle, Mr Trump spent several days defending the walk during campaign rallies and media interviews, telling The Wall Street Journal the ramp was “like an ice-skating rink” made slippery by his leather-soled shoes.
He also said the walk was taken out of context, with footage cut before he “ran down the rest” of the ramp.
“I looked very handsome,” Mr Trump said. “I took these little steps, then I ran down.”
Mr Biden is not the first president to stumble on the stairs to the plane. In 1975, president Gerald Ford fell down the stairs of Air Force One arriving in Austria. Betty Ford, however, maintained her poise.