Fact Check

Did Biden Fall While Going Up Stairs to Air Force One in Poland?

Not to be confused with miscaptioned footage from earlier in the trip that claimed he fell while walking DOWN the stairs.

Published Feb 23, 2023

 (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Image Via MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
Claim:
U.S. President Joe Biden tripped and fell while climbing up stairs to Air Force One as he left Poland on Feb. 22, 2023.

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.

Sources

Bose, Nandita, and Alan Charlish. "Fresh from Kyiv, Biden Rallies NATO Allies in Poland." Reuters, 21 Feb. 2023. www.reuters.com, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/biden-after-trip-ukraine-poland-meet-nato-allies-2023-02-21/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

Evon, Dan. "Did Biden Fall on Stairs to Air Force One?" Snopes, 19 Mar. 2021, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/biden-falls-on-stairs/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

Ibrahim, Nur. "Are These Real Jen Psaki Tweets About Trump After Biden's Bike Fall?" Snopes, 20 June 2022, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/jen-psaki-tweets-trump-biden/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

Ibrahim, Nur. "Did Biden Fall Out of Air Force One as He Disembarked?" Snopes, 22 Feb. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/biden-fall-air-force-one-disembarked/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

Ibrahim, Nur . White House Pool Report. 22 Feb. 2023.

Lee, Jessica. "We Noticed This Trend in Misinformation Since Biden Took Office." Snopes, 19 Jan. 2022, https://www.snopes.com/articles/390356/biden-one-year-rumors/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

President Joe Biden Departs Warsaw after His Trip to Poland and Ukraine Comes to an End. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVbYiI6_ZXI. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.
 

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.