First Lady Dr. Jill Biden has rejected Nikki Haley’s proposal for a competency test for elderly politicians, which was made multiple times during her recently announced 2024 presidential campaign. Haley had mentioned the idea of competency tests for older politicians in her CPAC speech as well as in multiple interviews. However, in an interview with CNN, Jill Biden dismissed the proposal as “ridiculous” and stated that they would never consider such a thing.
According to CNN, when asked about the possibility of President Biden taking a competency test, Jill Biden responded by saying:
“We would never even discuss something like that.”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 3, 2023
Joe Biden, who is 80 years old, is the oldest person to hold the presidency. There have been concerns about his physical fitness and mental acuity in recent years, even among members of his own party, due to instances where he has stumbled or struggled with his words. Haley’s proposal for mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old was seen by many as a dig at both Biden and former President Donald Trump.
The debate surrounding the proposal for mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old has brought ageism to the forefront of political discussion. While some argue that older politicians bring valuable experience and wisdom to the table, others point to the potential cognitive decline that can come with aging.
Senator Bernie Sanders, who himself is in his 80s and has run for president, has spoken out against the proposal as being discriminatory. However, it is worth noting that he himself may be aware of the reality of cognitive decline with age. It is a well-established fact that mental ability decreases with age, and by the time someone reaches their 80s, it is not uncommon for their cognitive abilities to have decreased.
In the case of President Joe Biden, there have been concerns raised about his physical fitness and mental acuity, with some moments during his presidency raising questions about his cognitive abilities. Despite this, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden has spoken out against the proposal for mandatory mental competency tests, calling it a “ridiculous” idea and stating that it is not something they would ever consider.
Despite concerns about his age, President Biden has announced his intention to run for a second term but has not yet made it official. A recent memo from the White House physician following a physical examination stated that the president is a “healthy, vigorous 80-year-old male who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.”
Dr. Biden, who is a former teacher with a Doctor of Education in educational leadership from the University of Delaware, expressed her support for another bid by her husband, stating that it is ultimately his decision and they will support him no matter what, saying, “It’s Joe’s decision… And we support whatever he wants to do. If he’s in, we’re there. If he wants to do something else, we’re there too.” At the time of his potential re-election bid, President Biden would be 82 years old and if he were to win, he would serve until the age of 86. It’s not ageism to question whether an 86-year-old president is the best choice for America, but rather a practical consideration.