Joe Biden stumbles on Air Force One steps for second time in two weeks

President Joe Biden stumbled on the steps of Air Force One for the second time in two weeks as he visited Selma, Alabama to commemorate it being 58 years since Bloody Sunday.

His last stumble came on 22 February when he boarded the jet after a three-day visit in Europe, which included travelling to Kyiv via train, a ride that lasted 10 hours.

Over the weekend, Mr Biden travelled to the site of the violent police attack on Black protesters on 7 March 1965, which energised civil rights activists. Peaceful protesters were beaten with nightsticks and teargassed by white officers.

The president said voting rights were “under assault” by the GOP, whose members are pushing laws limiting access to the ballot and redrawing voting districts.

Mr Biden said those who marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge had rejected the “forces of hate” and urged action leading to the Voting Rights Act being signed just five months later.

“They forced the country to confront hard truths and to act to keep the promise of America alive,” Mr Biden said, according to The New York Times.

Mr Biden’s first trip to Selma as commander-in-chief was made as he’s expected to soon announce a run for reelection in 2024 when he’ll need the support of Black voters.

The president slammed GOP attempts to limit how race issues can be taught in school. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who’s expected to take on former President Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination, has been the subject of criticism for restricting what students can be taught in Florida schools.

President Joe Biden speaks near the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., Sunday, March 5, 2023 (AP)
President Joe Biden speaks near the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., Sunday, March 5, 2023 (AP)

“We can’t just choose what we want to know and what we should know,” Mr Biden said. “We should learn everything. The good, the bad, the truth, who we are as a nation. Everyone should know the truth of Selma.”

Mr Biden went on to criticise redistricting in Alabama – activists in the state say that the votes of Black voters have been weakened.

A court had ordered lawmakers to redraw an Alabama voting map, saying that Black voters “have less opportunity” than others to elect the candidate of their choosing.

But the Supreme Court restored the map last month in a five to four decision with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the three liberals in their dissent, The Times noted at the time.

“As I come here in commemoration, not for show, Selma is a reckoning,” Mr Biden said this weekend. “The right to vote, the right to vote, to have your vote counted, is the threshold of democracy and liberty. With it, anything’s possible. Without it, without that right, nothing is possible.”