On Tuesday (June 6), White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not answer questions about President Joe Biden’s recent fall at a press briefing, instead getting into a heated exchange with a reporter questioning what would be done going forward to avoid such incidents.
Last Thursday (June 1), Biden fell on stage at the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony but joked about being “sandbagged” and walked back to his seat without help.
At the start of a question about the reporter acknowledged, “any one of us could trip over an object, just happens to be in our path,” but noted everyone had “observed the difficulty this President has in certain settings. Steps are one of them,” adding that there weren’t any sandbags on those other occasions.
The reporter also referenced Biden’s recent stumble while walking down stairs at a G-7 summit in Hiroshima, although he quickly regained his balance and continued on to shake hands with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
The reporter expressed being “struck by the incident” in Hiroshima, explaining that when the footage is examined, it’s clear that when Biden “greeted the prime minister, you could… see on the President’s face pursed lips as if to say this was a close one.”
The reporter highlighted the handrails on either side of the staircase, which Biden didn’t use, instead choosing to descend down the middle, before asking whether Biden’s recent stumbles and falls “has led the White House Chief of Staff to direct some kind of review of the advance procedures that are employed on behalf of… the nation’s oldest President?
Jean-Pierre admitted she hadn’t examined the stumble as closely as the reporter before highlighting Biden’s recent accomplishments, including the passage of the debt ceiling bill, adding, “[that] is what the American people are looking for.”
She added that “Congressional Republicans, ranging from the right MAGA and members to Speaker McCarthy, emphasize the President’s smarts and capabilities in making sure that there was a bipartisan, reasonable, commonsense piece of legislation” during debt ceiling negotiations.
When the reporter suggested that didn’t answer their question about if the White House Chief of Staff would make changes, Jean-Pierre replied, “Here’s the thing. We are not,” before concluding that “things happen.”