The former White House doctor who gave a glowing report in 2018 on the cognitive abilities of then President Donald Trump is calling on President Joe Biden to take the same test.
U.S. Representative Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, led a group of 14 Republicans who sent a letter to Biden on Thursday urging him to take a cognitive test and make the results public.
The first-year congressman served as a White House physician under former presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Trump. In 2018, he gave Trump a healthy checkup after an annual physical and cognitive test that took place amid questions about Trump’s mental fitness for service.
At the time, Jackson said it was the first time he knew of a cognitive test administered to a sitting president, saying Trump was “mentally very intelligent.”
“We believe that regardless of gender, age or political party, all presidents should follow the precedent set by former President Trump to document and demonstrate strong mental ability,” Jackson and his fellow Republicans wrote in their June 17 letter to Biden.
The Trump campaign has made Biden’s mental form a major component of his 2020 campaign. In campaign announcements and rallies, Trump has sought to portray Biden as mentally unfit to serve. His mental form has been the regular target of misinformation disseminated online.
Biden, 78, is the oldest president in American history.
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The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Biden bristled with questions about his mental abilities. Biden’s doctor released a medical report in December 2019 in which he described Biden as “healthy, vigorous” and “fit to successfully perform the duties of the presidency,” according to the Associated Press. NBC News reported that the report did not mention “mental disabilities”.
Jackson said in a prepared statement that it was “past time” for Biden to take a cognitive test.
“The American people deserve to have absolute confidence in their president,” he said in the statement. “They deserve to know that he or she can perform the duties demanded of the office, and they deserve to have full transparency about the mental state of their highest elected leader.”
Jackson claimed that Biden had shown “an obvious mental disability”.
Jackson was elected to the 13th Congressional District of Texas last year. Trump appointed Jackson, a Navy Rear Admiral, as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2018, but withdrew from review amid allegations of misconduct, including alcohol consumption at work and contributing to a hostile work environment.
The other 13 Republicans who signed the letter are:
- U.S. Representative Bob Gibbs of Ohio
- US Representative Jeff Duncan of South Carolina
- United States Representative Andy Harris, Maryland
- US Representative Brian Babin of Texas
- United States Representative Jody Hice of Georgia
- United States Representative Claudia Tenney, New York
- United States Representative W. Gregory Steube of Florida
- U.S. Representative Tom Tiffany, Wisconsin
- United States Representative Kat Cammack from Florida
- US Representative Jerry Carl of Alabama
- United States Representative Pat Fallon, Texas
- Rep. American Diana Harsbarger, from Tennessee
- United States Representative Beth Van Duyne of Texas