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Friday, July 19, 2024

House Republicans Call for Biden’s Cognitive Test Amid Concerns Over Fitness for Office

Former White House physician Ronny Jackson and 83 House Republicans demand cognitive test for President Biden, citing concerns over mental decline highlighted by a prosecutor's report, sparking debate over fitness for office.

A former White House physician and 83 other US House Republicans have raised “grave concerns” about President Joe Biden’s cognitive abilities, saying he should be tested to prove his fitness for office after a prosecutor’s report suggested that he was too elderly and befuddled to stand trial.

US Representative Ronny Jackson, a Texas Republican who served as White House doctor under then-Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama, authored a letter to Biden on Thursday calling for the commander-in-chief to take a cognitive test.

“If you are too mentally impaired to stand trial, as your own Department of Justice claims, then we are concerned that your mental state is not at a competent level to serve as the leader of the free world,” Jackson said in the letter, which was co-signed by 83 other Republican lawmakers. He added that if Biden is unwilling or unable to take a cognitive exam, his cabinet members should begin proceedings under the US Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

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Last week’s report by US Department of Justice special counsel Robert Hur concerned an investigation into Biden’s mishandling of classified documents that he kept after leaving office as vice president in 2017. The special counsel said he found evidence that Biden had jeopardized national security, but added that the president shouldn’t be criminally charged, partly because a jury would be reluctant to convict an octogenarian who comes across in interviews as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

The 81-year-old Biden, the oldest president in US history, called a press conference after Hur’s report was released to defend his cognitive fitness. “My memory is fine,” he insisted. A few minutes later, he referred to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the leader of Mexico. The gaffe came in the same week that he claimed to have had conversations with two world leaders who had died years before.

“Over the past three years, your mental decline and forgetfulness has become even more apparent,” Jackson and the other lawmakers said in their letter to Biden. “It is a common occurrence to see you shuffling your feet, stumbling while walking, slurring your words, forgetting names, losing your train of thought, and appearing confused or asleep when making public appearances here at home and on the world stage.”

Biden’s next annual medical exam will not include a cognitive test, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday. Her staff dismissed media inquiries about Jackson’s demands for an exam by responding with images likening the congressman to a cartoon doctor known for quackery.