President Joe Biden slipped and fell on a stage after handing out the final diploma at the United States Air Force Academy graduation following a commencement speech Thursday afternoon, and was quickly helped up by Air Force officers as the White House assured the public that the president is “fine.”
According to a White House pool report, the president “fell down on stage after handing out the last diploma to the Air Force cadets.”
“He appeared to slip and fall going down on his knees,” the pool report detailed, adding: “He was helped up by Air Force officials. POTUS appears to be ok and continued to stand until the ceremony ended a few minutes later.”
The president then walked away without help and appeared to point to a sandbag on the stage that he appeared to trip over.
‘He’s fine,’ White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt tweeted shortly after the incident. ‘There was a sandbag on stage while he was shaking hands.’
A follow-up pool report clarified that the president had been walking back to his seat after delivering his address, when he fell. “He appeared to have tripped on a black sandbag on the stage. When he fell, pointed to the black sandbag suggesting that’s what he tripped on,” the pool report detailed.
The stumble comes just weeks after Biden stumbled while visiting the Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima, Japan.
During that event, there was a railing available on some stairs the president had to navigate down. He ignored the railing and stumbled, restoring his balance while walking downward. Biden also stumbled while boarding Air Force One in March on a trip to Selma, Alabama.
Biden fell up the stairs while boarding Air Force One in 2021 and toppled over on his bike near his Delaware beach house last June. He was not harmed in any of the incidents.
Last June, Biden made headlines when he fell off his bike while attempting to greet a group of reporters and residents at the Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware. He did not suffer any injuries.
“I’m good,” Biden said at the time, after a Secret Service agent helped him up. As he walked towards a member of the crowd, the group clapped and cheered for the president as he continued to greet them.
Following the mishap, White House officials issued a statement to PEOPLE, saying the president got his foot “caught on the pedal while dismounting.” They added that “he is fine.”
The fall comes as a recent poll showed that a majority of voters have concerns about Biden’s age as he runs for a second term, given that he would be 86 at the end of a potential second term.