As U.S. President Joe Biden left Warsaw, Poland, on Feb. 22, 2023, after a surprise visit to Ukraine, videos of him stumbling while climbing stairs to Air Force One went viral. The footage appeared to show him walking up the stairs, and, near the top, stumbling slightly and falling forward. He caught himself, stood up and continued to climb.
Sharing the clip, Liz Wheeler, the host of a conservative political commentary podcast, wrote on Twitter, "Joe Biden trips and falls up the stairs on Air Force One."
To determine whether the clip was real or miscaptioned, we looked for longer videos of Biden's walk up the stairs from reputable news sources. By examining footage from Sky News, for instance, at the 18-minute mark, we saw Biden did indeed stumble:
We reached out to the White House for confirmation and received its pool report for the day. That document read: "The president boarded at 5:34. About half way up the main stairs he stumbled and fell forward. He quickly recovered, stood and continued to the door, giving a quick wave before going in."
Given that acknowledgment from the White House, as well as the clear, undoctored video evidence that shows Biden stumbling, we rate this claim as "True."
The videos of the fall are not to be confused with miscaptioned footage from earlier in the trip — a clip that supposedly showed Biden falling down the stairs when disembarking from Air Force One. In that video, the individual who fell was not actually the president.
Critics of Biden used the Feb. 22 slip to comment on Biden's health, question his fitness for office, and recall his past stumbles. (We have covered Biden's falls before, including a time he fell off a bicycle in 2022. Also, the February 2023 incident was not the first time cameras caught Biden tripping while boarding Air Force One.)
We should note that questioning a president's physical and mental health is a reoccurring trend no matter who is in in the Oval Office or their political affiliation.