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A former White House doctor, 13 other House Republicans urge Biden to ‘immediately’ take cognitive test

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Joe Biden

A former White House physician has called on US President Joe Biden to undergo a cognitive test as the 78-year-old’s performance over the past months has raised qualms about his mental capabilities.

Ronny Jackson, who currently serves as a congressman but used to work as former US President Donald Trump’s doctor, led a group of 14 Republicans who sent Biden a letter on Thursday urging him to take a cognitive test to prove he is mentally fit to be commander in chief.

Jackson and his Republican colleagues expressed "concern" about Biden’s cognitive state and cited several examples of potential memory lapses, including apparently forgetting the name of his cabinet members and seemingly blanking on the often-quoted first line of the US Declaration of Independence.

"Unfortunately, your mental decline and forgetfulness have become more apparent over the past 18 months," Jackson and the GOP reps wrote in the letter to Biden.

"We encourage you to follow the example set by President Trump by undergoing a cognitive test as soon as possible and immediately making the results available for the American people," they added.

Jackson faced enormous pressure in 2018 to administer a cognitive test to Trump as pundits and mental health professionals openly speculated that the Republican could have early-stage dementia or a decline in mental health.

The presidential doctor announced in a press conference later that Trump had scored a perfect 30 out of 30 on the test despite his junk food diet.

The GOP lawmakers urged Biden to follow the same example as Trump and take the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA), saying, "Given the precedent set and Biden’s clear mental impairment, we believe it is past time he undergo a cognitive test.”

Moreover, Jackson said in a separate statement on Thursday that, “The American people deserve to have absolute confidence in their president. They deserve to know that he or she can perform the duties demanded of the office, and they deserve to have full transparency on the mental state of their highest elected leader.”

The White House declined to comment on the GOP letter, but said in May that Biden would be going for a medical checkup this year and would be transparent about the results.

"The president is planning to have a checkup later this year, and the results will be released to the public," White House spokesman Andrew Bates told Fox last month.

In October, Jackson joined a Trump campaign call with reporters and said he was convinced, based on campaign gaffes, that Biden “does not have the mental capacity, the cognitive ability to serve as our commander in chief and head of state.”

Biden turned 78 last November and became the oldest US president to run the country.

Biden, who had caught everyone’s attention with his malapropisms, mispronunciations and slurred remarks during the last year’s election campaign, was branded “Sleepy Joe” by his rival, Trump, who went to the extent of suggesting that his cognitive abilities be tested.

The 78-year-old US president, the oldest man to have occupied the Oval Office, stumbled and tripped three times while boarding the presidential plane in March.

The triple fall was among others mocked by Trump, who said it was a sign of “neurological deficiency and dementia.”

On March 18, a Russian politician also claimed that Biden was grappling with dementia, after the latter called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer.”

Fears were further accentuated on the same day after Biden referred to Vice President Kamala Karris as “President Harris," drawing scorn and ridicule from friends and foes alike.

Biden, who survived two brain aneurysms in the late 1980s, has refused to take a cognitive test for dementia, even though concerns are mounting over his deteriorating health, which some fear could even compromise the US national security interests.


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