Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley suggested in an interview on Thursday that leaders in the government who are of an advanced age should undergo a “cognitive test.”
The Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody questioned Haley about her thoughts on the mental health of 78-year-old President Biden, the oldest man to hold the office, asking if she had any concerns.
“Well what I’ll tell you is, rather than making this about a person, we seriously need to have a conversation that if you’re gonna have anyone above a certain age in a position of power — whether it’s the House, whether it’s the Senate, whether it’s vice president, whether it’s president — you should have some sort of cognitive test,” Haley said … The advanced ages of both Biden and former President Trump, 75, was brought up frequently during the 2020 presidential elections.
During the sole vice presidential debate, USA Today Washington Bureau chief Susan Page asked both then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D‑Calif.) and former Vice President Mike Pence if they had spoken with their running mates about any contingency plans should they become unable to serve, noting that they would both be serving alongside the oldest U.S. presidents in history, regardless of who won.
Both vice presidential candidates skirted directly answering the question at the time.
News in Context:
- Debate: Should heads of state and candidates to high office pass a cognitive/ mental fitness test?
Pro: “Definitely. We routinely screen applicants for a wide range of jobs. Apply for the police, you will be tested. Join the military, you will be evaluated. Should we not know if a candidate for the highest position in the country has a serious emotional, intellectual or psychological impairment?”
Con: “I disagree because these tests are very bad at predicting how good someone would be in leading a country. It doesn’t require the ability to store a lot of information in your working memory. Being a good leader requires only one essential thing: having the right priorities.”
It depends: “Who makes the test? What cognitive metrics do we use? The biases in that design could lead to significant unexpected or even intentionally skewed results.”