OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The longer he is in office, the more it appears as though President Joe Biden’s age is catching up with him — rapidly.
The 80-year-old president sparked calls of “elder abuse” and worse after a video clip of him greeting two world leaders went viral on social media Friday.
Biden was at Camp David in Maryland to greet South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, a summit seen as the U.S. attempting to shore up relationships between both countries amid a rising China.
As the summit opened, a camera focused on Biden, who walked slowly down a pathway to an area in front of the Camp David sign, where he stood for a few moments gesturing as Yoon and Kishida approached to shake his hand.
Biden’s gait looked slow and stiff, leading The Blaze’s X account to label the incident “Elder abuse.”
Elder abuse pic.twitter.com/QcXG4CbuYU
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) August 18, 2023
Other users joined in as well.
“The audacity of liberals to run this guy again is simply astounding,” one X user wrote.
“He walks like he either just s**t his pants or is trying desperately not to!” another quipped.
“Why is his gait so robotic? lol,” said another.
“And ‘they’ want us to believe he can carry on ANY real conversation w/them?” said yet another user.
Though the White House fiercely pushes back on any suggestion that Biden’s age is catching up with him, the administration has nevertheless made some behind-the-scenes changes to better accommodate and protect him from himself.
After a series of high-profile stumbling and falling on the steps leading up to Air Force Once, the administration has quietly changed Biden’s boarding method, reports said last week.
POLITICO noted in a story headlined, “Biden downplays age talk — but subtle accommodations are being made,” the bizarre appearance of Biden, who recently stepped off Marine One wearing tennis shoes without socks.
“The informality of the president’s wardrobe distracted from something else — something reporters who travel with him have been noticing for some time,” the outlet noted. “Biden boarded using the shorter set of retractable stairs that fold into the belly of the plane. The routine began a few months ago, the president increasingly avoiding the grander, more traditional doorway near the front of the aircraft on the main passenger level, higher above the tarmac.”
The outlet noted further:
The new routine looks to be another subtle accommodation to the president’s age. It is hiding in plain sight, although the White House won’t concede that interpretation. Three weeks ago when the president traveled to New York, again using the lower stairs to board, Bloomberg’s Justin Sink pressed press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about it during her in-flight gaggle.
Was Biden having “mobility problems,” Sink asked, or was it “to address — you know, he’s had a couple incidents falling on the stairs getting up and you guys just decided that it would be better for him?”
“I don’t have any decision process to walk through,” Jean-Pierre claimed. “I’m sure there’s a protocol that’s used for the — for Air Force One. I just don’t have one.”
Historically, presidents have opted to use the lower stairs in situations where heavy rain or wind renders the taller steps impractical for use. In rare instances — like the notable diplomatic incident when President Barack Obama arrived in China in 2016 — when a portable set of stairs is unavailable to be placed next to the main door, the lower stairs have been employed, POLITICO noted.
Last summer, Biden fell off his bicycle after stopping to talk to a small group of people near his Rehoboth, Del., home. He has stumbled and even fallen up the steps to Air Force One on a number of occasions. And he fell after tripping over a sandbag last month after giving the commencement speech to the graduating class of the Air Force Academy in Colorado.
Biden also nearly lost his balance and fell walking down some steps in Japan earlier this summer.