Joe Biden took a dramatic tumble while attempting to dismount from his bicycle during a morning ride in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on Saturday. The 79-year-old biker had come to a stop to speak with some well-wishers near his vacation home, but instead stunned them (and his soon-to-be swarming Secret Service contingent) when he promptly fell over, legs still entangled in his bike. Biden, who was wearing a helmet and biking gloves, then got up and assured onlookers, “I’m good!”
“I got my foot caught up,” he also explained.
The White House later blamed the president’s bike pedal for the mishap, claiming in a statement that “his foot got caught on the pedal while dismounting and he is fine” and that “no medical attention is needed.”
While most people suffer embarrassing bike moments in relative privacy, an American president does not, particularly when it happens in broad daylight in front of the White House press pool with their smartphone cameras rolling:
But he was soon back on his feet and smiling as he chatted with some small children among the crowd before pedaling off.
The bike-riding president’s eventful fall also made a scene online, where tepid takes and uninspired jokes quickly flourished, White House reporters offered their forward-thinking analysis, news organizations rushed up their posts, and critics like the coattail-riding adult son of a ramp-challenged former president sought to ascribe some larger-sounding meaning to what had happened:
Fox News contributor Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, meanwhile, insisted in a tweet that bike-riding while elderly was no laughing matter:
What no one seemed to mention, however, was how suspicious the timing was. After all, Biden’s big fall came just one day after the president and First Lady subjected their cat, Willow, to a ride inside a helicopter.
To be clear, there may be no way to ever confirm whether Willow (or karma) had anything to do with Biden’s so-called accident, but that doesn’t mean it can be ruled out, either. The White House has repeatedly made it sound as though the gray tabby is lucky and happy to have the privileges she does as First Cat. But as most people who have had cats can attest, when it comes to how felines truly view humans, there is always a thin line between mutual respect and murderous contempt, and it doesn’t take much — a piece of dehydrated chicken offered or withheld, an errant foot hanging off the side of the bed, or, perhaps, a loud and harrowing transit in Marine One — to tip the balance.
This post has been updated to include an image of Willow looking extremely pissed off.