Politics – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is attempting to push back at the suggestion he should be given a cognitive test to prove he is mentally fit for the Oval Office.
Biden was asked about the cognitive test during a recent appearance at the convention for the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The discussion is set to air in full on Thursday.
The former vice-president, who is now 77-years-old, compared the question to being tested for drug use for no reason. “Come on, man. That’s like saying you — before you got on this program, you take a test where you’re taking cocaine or not. What do you think? Huh? Are you a junkie?”
When Barnett followed up with a question about Trump’s touting of his own “unbelievable” results on a cognitive test last month, Biden laughed. “Well, if he can’t figure out the difference between an elephant and a lion, I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about,” Biden said, before adding that he’s “looking forward” to the debate stage. While Biden says he is looking forward to debating Trump, many Democrats are trying to persuade him not to debate.
Biden’s reaction to the question drew quick criticism. Senior White House aide Kellyanne Conway tweeted: “Stumbling and bumbling through why he doesn’t need to take a cognitive test shows why he needs a cognitive test.”
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a professor of political communication at the University of Pennsylvania, cautioned against using verbal inaccuracies to settle on a conclusion. “You don’t always know what that means,” Jamieson said, adding that biases about age can influence how voters and media treat an older candidate’s syntax. “But you do know when you have an exchange in real time whether a person can handle the questions and answers and as a result is able to function” in the White House.
“Some cues don’t really say anything about governance,” Jamieson said. “If you can’t focus, that’s a problem. If you can’t provide a coherent answer, that’s a problem.”
In an interview with CBS reporter Errol Barnett, Biden clarified that he has not taken a cognitive test, arguing against his need for one. “No, I haven’t taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test?” spouted the Democratic nominee during the interview.
At a campaign event in June, when asked by a reporter if he has been tested for any sort of cognitive decline, Biden said “I’ve been tested, and I’m constantly tested”. In 2018, the President’s then-physician Ronny Jackson said Trump received a perfect score on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, a test used by doctors to detect “mild cognitive dysfunction” and asks the patient to perform a batch of memory and mental tasks.
Forming an opinion, based on the many recent bloopers and repetitive off topic driftings, it is probably best that presidential candidate Biden avoid such cognitive testings… at least until after November 3. Come on, man.