Joe Biden’s fall on the steps of Air Force One may have been seized upon by his critics as an indication of the 78-year-old president’s physical decline – but some social media users are using the resulting furore to make an important point.
As the oldest US citizen to ever sit in the Oval Office, Biden’s physical wellbeing was indeed a point of debate during the election campaign.
And true to form, his combative 74-year-old opponent Donald Trump often sought to paint Biden as too old for the job, notably branding him “Sleepy Joe”.
And even outwith this unusually harsh political arena, some of Biden’s supporters voiced their unease when it was reported in November that he had fallen while playing with his dog, Major, and would be wearing a cast on his fractured foot for several weeks.
Unsurprisingly, footage of Biden’s series of tumbles as he jaunted up the steps to board the presidential aircraft delighted many Republicans on Twitter – who jumped on the clip in order to cast aspersions around his general fitness.
Following the incident, a White House spokesperson said the president was “just fine and did not even require any attention from the medical team who travels with him”, while another spokesperson said: “It’s pretty windy outside. It’s very windy. I almost fell coming up the steps myself.”
But as #BidenFall began to trend, others used the opportunity to highlight the only fall they believe to be of any real consequence at the moment.
You guessed it – they were talking about the dramatic fall in coronavirus cases and fatalities that has accompanied Biden’s time in office.
With the US having topped official counts of global Covid-19 cases and deaths for the better part of the past year – hitting a high of 300,000 new daily infections on 8 January – the country has seen a steady turnaround in its fortunes in recent weeks, with new daily cases sitting below 60,000 in each of the past five days.