President Biden almost took a rough tumble down some stairs on his way to the G7 conference in Hiroshima. After being guided by his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, Biden had a close encounter with the bane of his existence: stairs. After sizing down his enemy, Biden succumbed to the pressure and tripped. Thankfully, he narrowly avoided a total collapse and recovered his footing, preventing a media fiasco. This wasn’t the only drama of the day, and many pointed out Biden’s first encounter with Prime Minister Kishida as nothing but bizarre. The President had to be held by the hand and led by his wife, sharing an awkward handshake with the Prime Minister and appearing to get into a boxing position with Kishida’s wife before taking a photo op with the group. Twitter and many news outlets have reported that the President appeared visibly confused and unprepared for the landing in Hiroshima, a poor show of face for what should be a meeting of the world’s most powerful figures.
By Lee Brown; May 19, 2023
A confused-looking President Biden had to be gently guided by Japanese leader Fumio Kishida on Friday — before tripping and almost falling down some stairs.
The oldest-ever US president looked confused as first lady Jill Biden led him by the hand to meet his Japanese counterpart and his wife for a photo op in Hiroshima ahead of the Group of Seven summit there.
After shaking Kishida’s hand, Biden, 80, turned his attention to the prime minister’s 58-year-old wife, Fumio Kishida — bizarrely bending over with clenched fists, as if in a boxer’s pose, before also shaking her hand.
Kishida, 65, then began leading the US dignitaries to prearranged spots to pose for photos — eventually jumping in to politely guide Biden to his place as the president shuffled slowly over and looked at the ground in clear confusion as to where he was supposed to stand.
“We’ll figure it out,” the first lady joked as she and their hosts patiently waited for the aging commander-in-chief to work out where he should stand.
Biden finally figured it out, saying a relieved “all right” as he broke into a smile, ready for the group shot.
Later in the day, the gaffe-prone president had his latest mishap on stairs, this time while going down some rather than walking up.
Footage showed him arriving late for a tour of the Itsukushima Shrine, with the other world leaders already starting their tour as Biden slowly emerged from his limo.
After walking slowly toward the others, he stared intently at a set of just eight steps — but still tripped, luckily catching his footing before falling.
He smiled as if it hadn’t happened as he again extended a hand to greet Kishida, who was waiting at the bottom of the steps.
The world leaders posed for a group pic after touring the shrine, with Biden this time appearing to find his spot with relative ease.
Biden’s age — and gaffes — have become a central concern as he runs again for the White House in 2024. He would be 86 at the end of a full second term and has tripped numerous times before, most notably while getting into Air Force One.
A recent poll showed that 63% of Americans don’t think he’s mentally sharp enough to run the nation effectively, and 62% believe he’s not in good enough physical health.
In February, 59% of Democrats polled by Reuters/Ipsos agreed that the phrase “Joe Biden is too old to work in government” best described the president.
But his doctors have insisted he is “fit for duty,” and the White House has persistently maintained that he is mentally sharp enough for the rigors of the job.
Biden said he “took a hard look” at his age before he decided to run.
“And I feel good. I feel excited about the prospects. And I think we’re on the verge of really turning the corner in a way we haven’t in a long time.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky is due to join the G7 leaders Sunday as they announce new ways to punish Russia for its 15-month invasion of his country.
Photo: Gage Skidmore