Haley Fires Back at Bernie Sanders After He Calls Her Elderly Competency Test Idea ‘Absurd’

Haley Fires Back at Bernie Sanders After He Calls Her Elderly Competency Test Idea ‘Absurd’
Nikki Haley greets supporters after an event with Republican Pennsylvania Senate nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz in Harrisburg, Pa., on Oct. 26, 2022. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)
Jackson Richman

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley fired back at Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) after he labelled as “absurd” her call for competency tests for politicians over 75 years old.

“Exactly what a career politician and socialist would say,” Haley told The Epoch Times on Monday. “This is about transparency. The Washington establishment is afraid of the people finding out some of our leaders aren’t fit to serve.”

In her speech last week announcing her candidacy for the White House, Haley, 51, appeared to take shots at President Joe Biden, 80, and former President Donald Trump, 76, whom she worked under as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

“In the America I see, the permanent politician will finally retire,” said Haley. “We’ll have term limits for Congress. And mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old.”

“America is not past our prime,” she added. “It’s just that our politicians are past theirs.”

Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, the 81-year-old Sanders, who ran for president in 2016 and 2020, blasted Haley’s proposal.

“I think that’s absurd,” he said.

“We are fighting racism, we’re fighting sexism, we’re fighting homophobia, I think we should also be fighting ageism. Trust people, look at people and say, you know, this person is competent, this person is not competent,” added Sanders. “There are a lot of 40-year-olds out there who ain’t particularly competent. Older people, you know, you look at the individual, I don’t think you make a blanket statement.”

Sanders said that politicians should be judged by what they do as opposed to their age.

“Look at what they do, what they believe in. What are they fighting for?” he said. “What does Donald Trump stand for? Do you believe in that? Well, I certainly don’t. What does Joe Biden stand for? What is he doing? Has he accomplished—look at him in that way, not on age.”

Haley’s fellow South Carolina Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), agreed with Haley’s call for competency tests, but said the age for taking them should be lower than 75.

“I think it should be lower,” Graham, who ran for president in 2016 and is supporting Trump in 2024, told Insider. “Anybody dumb enough to run should have to take a test.”

In virtually all GOP primary polls, Haley, who served as governor of South Carolina between 2011 and 2017, trails Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.). DeSantis has not yet announced his candidacy but is expected to do so soon.

Jackson Richman is a Washington correspondent for The Epoch Times. In addition to Washington politics, he covers the intersection of politics and sports/sports and culture. He previously was a writer at Mediaite and Washington correspondent at Jewish News Syndicate. His writing has also appeared in The Washington Examiner. He is an alum of George Washington University.
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