President Joe Biden has long faced speculation that he is suffering from cognitive decline and is no longer mentally fit for the job.
For his part, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) is suggesting that aging leaders in all branches of government be subjected to cognitive tests to ensure they are capable of discharging the duties of their respective offices.
“I’m saying this as a doctor”
The senator made his case during a recent interview for Axios on HBO.
In addition to his political role, Cassidy is also a gastroenterologist, and he spoke in part from his medical perspective in addressing the “rapid decline” in cognitive ability that can come with aging. For that reason, he argued that annual evaluations could be a beneficial requirement for elderly elected officials.
Noting that he was not referring to any particular person, the Louisiana Republican said that such decline is “usually noticeable” in individuals as they reach their 80s.
“So, anybody in a position of responsibility who may potentially be on that slope, that is of concern,” he added. “And I’m saying this as a doctor.”
In fact, he cited anecdotes he has heard about “senators of both parties” who were “senile” by the time they left office.
“We each have a sacred responsibility”
“Now you can argue, ‘Well they were elected so who cares,’ but would it be reasonable to have, for Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, and leadership positions in the executive branch, an annual sort of evaluation in which they would have to establish, ‘Yes, I’m doing OK?'” Cassidy asked.
He answered his own question by calling it “a reasonable plan,” adding: “We each have a sacred responsibility to the people of the United States. It is not about me. It is about my ability to serve the people.”
According to the Daily Wire, Cassidy’s plan, though not overtly directed at Biden, would impact the president along with various elected leaders in both chambers of Congress as well as aging justices on the Supreme Court. Of course, he is not the first politician to suggest such a plan.
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), wh0 served as the White House physician during the Obama and Trump administrations, has called on Biden to undergo the same type of cognitive test administered to former President Donald Trump. Jackson has made it clear that he is concerned about Biden’s ability to act as president — and Cassidy’s recommendation would help determine if those concerns are warranted.
It is worth noting that many elderly individuals remain mentally sharp and fully capable, so establishing an arbitrary age limit is probably not helpful. Nevertheless, annual testing might help weed out those who are simply unable to handle the rigors of the job any longer.