Trump Endorses Mental Competency Testing for Presidential Candidates

Trump Endorses Mental Competency Testing for Presidential Candidates
Former U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the South Carolina State House in Columbia, S.C., on Jan. 28, 2023. (Win McNamee/ Getty Images)
Gary Bai
Updated:
0:00

Former President Donald Trump on Feb. 21 welcomed the idea of requiring those intending to run for U.S. president to go through mental competency examination.

“ANYBODY running for the Office of President of the United States should agree to take a full & complete Mental Competency Test simultaneously (or before!) with the announcement that he or she is running, & likewise, but to a somewhat lesser extent, agree to a test which would prove that you are physically capable of doing the job,” Trump, 76, said on his social media platform Truth Social on Tuesday.

“​Being an outstanding President requires great mental acuity & physical stamina. If you don’t have these qualities or traits, it is likely you won’t succeed. MAGA!​” he wrote.

Trump echoed earlier remarks by former South Carolina Gov. and U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, who announced her 2024 presidential bid on Feb. 14, about requiring mental competency tests for politicians over 75.
Haley, 51, threaded her Feb. 15 presidential campaign kickoff speech with the theme of a “new generation” of leadership, distinguishing her relatively young profile from those of her competitors, including Trump, potentially President Joe Biden, and others in Congress who are over the age of 70.
According to a Business Insider report, about 23 percent of Congress is currently over 70 years old, marking the highest percentage in U.S. history.

While roughly half of the U.S. population is aged 38 and younger, Congress only has 5 percent of its members within that demographic, the study found, with a median age of 61.5 in 2020.

“In the America I see, the permanent politician will finally retire,” Haley said in her concluding remarks, speaking to an audience at the Charleston Visitor Center. “We'll have term limits for Congress, and mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old.”

Haley’s statements have received mixed responses. Former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), 81, called Haley’s remarks “absurd” when he appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation“ on Feb. 18.
Haley dismissed Sanders’s criticisms, saying it is “exactly what a career politician and socialist would say,” in a statement to The Epoch Times on Feb. 20.

The issue of a president’s age began floating around the time of the 2020 presidential election when some frontrunners—including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sanders, and Trump—were over 70. Then-presidential candidate Joe Biden became the oldest in American history to run at the age of 77.

Since Biden announced his presidential bid, and after his inauguration, many questioned his cognitive state, often citing his public gaffes as signs that he is unfit to govern.

Last October, a month before he turned 80, Biden said it is “totally legitimate” for voters to factor in his age in judging his capacity to govern and that people should decide whether his abilities are adequate for the job.

On the same topic, Trump said in 2022 that Biden’s age did not make him an “old man.”

“President Biden is one of the oldest 79s in History, but by and of itself, he is not an old man,” Trump wrote on Truth Social on July 10, 2022.
Amy Gamm contributed to this report.