Trump’s controversial ex-doctor starts petition for Biden to take cognitive test

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Republican congressman Ronny Jackson says President Biden should take a mental health test (REUTERS)
Republican congressman Ronny Jackson says President Biden should take a mental health test (REUTERS)

Republican congressman Ronny Jackson has started a petition for President Biden to take a cognitive test, demanding that the president prove he’s mentally fit for the job.

In an interview with The Hill, Rep Jackson said the president “doesn’t know what’s going on, where he’s at. He’s very confused all the time.”

The Texas representative offered no specific evidence that Mr Biden is cognitively impaired, though he has not yet unveiled his petition. He says he began gathering signatures this week from his fellow Republicans in Congress, and will send the letter to the White House in the next day or two.

Rep Jackson is no stranger to controversy. Before he was elected to Congress in 2020, he was the presidential physician for Barack Obama and Donald Trump, and delivered an unusually glowing report on Mr Trump’s health in 2018.

“He has incredibly good genes, and it’s just the way God made him,” he said at the time.

As part of his report, Dr Jackson said Mr Trump got a perfect score on a mental health assessment.

“I’ve found no reason whatsoever to think the President has any issues whatsoever with his thought processes,” he told reporters.

The comments stand in stark contrast with his assessment of Mr Biden, who he says should take the same cognitive test as Mr Trump.

“My point is that President Trump had to submit to that, even when I was his physician. I mean, the precedent’s already been set,” Rep Jackson told The Hill. “We did it and President Trump did it. And Biden, in his position, and his medical team, need to follow the lead now.”

Doubts about Mr Biden’s mental health have become a right-wing talking point over the past two years. Conspiracy theories have proliferated online that the president’s team is hiding his ailments, and that the president as we see him is computer animated or a hologram. (Such theories have been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked.)

To counter the health concerns, if not the hologram theories, Mr Biden’s team released a medical summary in 2019 calling him a “healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.” The White House says it will release another assessment later this year.

Meanwhile, one unexpected source has testified to Mr Biden’s sharpness: Vladimir Putin.

“I want to say that the image of President Biden that our press and even the American press paints has nothing in common with reality,” Mr Putin said after meeting with the president in Geneva. “Biden is a professional, and you have to be very careful in working with him to make sure you don’t miss anything. He doesn’t miss anything, I can assure you.”

Meanwhile, Rep Jackson has had his own credibility issues. The Department of Defense released a report in March that accused him of abusing alcohol and sleeping pills on the job, and of making “sexual and denigrating comments” about a female subordinate. One witness said they saw him driving drunk. Another said he pounded on the hotel room door of the female subordinate, telling her “I need you.”

Rep Jackson has fiercely denied the charges.

“Democrats are using this report to repeat and rehash untrue attacks on my integrity,” he said in March. “I’m proud of the work environment I fostered under three different presidents of both parties; I take my professional responsibility with respect to prescription drug practices seriously; and I flat out reject any allegation that I consumed alcohol while on duty.”

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