During a campaign kick-off event on Wednesday, Haley said, “In the America I see, the permanent politician will finally retire.”
“We’ll have term limits for Congress and mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old,” she added.
Watch the video below:
.@NikkiHaley: "In the America I see, the permanent politician will finally retire. We'll have term limits for Congress & mandatory mental competency test for anyone over 75 yrs old. Most of all, I see a strong America b/c I see a proud America. Strong & proud, not weak & woke." pic.twitter.com/ktdxR8MIQ4
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) February 15, 2023
Haley did not specify she believes competency tests should only be for presidential candidates. There are several octogenarians in Congress. And there have been a few instances where Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who is 89 years old and the oldest member of the upper chamber, appeared to forget things.
But her limit for the competency test is interesting. Biden, who is 80 now, would be in that age range. But so would former President Donald Trump, who is 76.
While term limits for Congress are an idea many Americans would probably like, it is a proposal that would probably be quickly dismissed.
A mental competency test might be good if we cannot get term limits. Granted, there are politicians in their 80s who do not seem to have lost a step. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), for example, is also 89 — just a few months younger than Feinstein — performed push-ups to demonstrate his vitality while seeking reelection ahead of the 2022 midterm election.
And former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), 82, managed to keep a small House majority mostly together over the last two years, and shepherd through parts of Biden’s agenda.
But a mental competency test probably would not go over well with Biden. When CBS News’ Errol Barnett asked the then-former vice president if he had taken a cognitive test, he got a testy response.
“No, I haven’t taken a test,” he shot back. “Why the hell would I take a test? Come on, man. That’s like saying to you, ‘Before you got on this program, did you take a test where you’re taking cocaine or not?’ What do you think, huh? Are you a junkie?”
"No, I haven't taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test? Come on, man,” Biden tells @errolbarnett, comparing questions about undergoing a cognitive exam to asking if a reporter had taken a drug test. “What do you think, huh? Are you a junkie?" pic.twitter.com/vbC6VchpHZ
— Christopher Cadelago (@ccadelago) August 5, 2020
Conservatives have raised questions about Biden’s mental state after instances where he fell off his bike, appeared to be lost during events, struggled to speak, or asked where a dead congresswoman was.
So it makes sense a Republican would call for a competency test for older politicians. But the age cut-off is noteworthy as it would include Trump. Perhaps it was meant as a subtle way of suggesting he is too old. After all, during her speech, she argued Republicans need a “new generation to lead us into the future.”
Supporters of the former president will point to his vitality and rigorous campaign schedules in 2016 and 2020. However, by the time the 2024 primaries get underway, he will be about as old as Biden was in 2020, and there could very well be questions about Trump’s mental fitness.
Haley’s proposal could be part of a plan to subliminally put a number in peoples’ heads as potentially being too old. And then if Trump misses a step during a debate, they might think, “Well, he is over 75. And he’s not getting any younger. We saw what happened with Biden at that age.”
Or it could simply be that she figured 75 was just a nice number.
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