Saturday, December 9, 2023

US First Lady Jill Biden says testing Biden’s mental fitness ‘ridiculous’

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WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden would “never even discuss” taking a mental competency test suggested by Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley for politicians older than 75, said First Lady Jill Biden.

Her comments to CNN come in the context of Mr Biden’s expected bid for a second term, which would make him 82 at his inauguration if he won re-election.

In previously released interview excerpts, Mrs Biden said she’s “all for” her husband running in 2024 and pointed to his recent trip to Ukraine that included a nine-hour train ride from Poland.

“Ridiculous,” said Mrs Biden, when asked about Ms Haley’s proposal and whether the President would consider taking such a test.

“We would never even discuss something like that.”

Ms Haley, 51, who is running against her former boss, former president Donald Trump, 76, proposed a mandatory mental competency test for politicians over the age of 75 in February.

Another contender expected to enter the Grand Old Party fray is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is 44.

Mr Biden, the oldest person to serve as US president, has said he intends to run in 2024 but has not announced a decision.

His wife is understood to be his closest confidante within the White House. Mr Biden has cited his family or a surprise development, such as a health crisis, as potential deterrents to another run.

Mr Biden has faced questions and Republican attacks based on his age in the build-up to 2024.

“It’s legitimate for people to raise issues about my age,” he said in an ABC News interview in February.

“It’s totally legitimate to do that. And, the only thing I can say is ‘Watch me.’”

The President’s doctor said Mr Biden is “healthy” and “vigorous” following a routine physical on Feb 16.

On Friday, the White House said Mr Biden had a cancerous skin lesion removed from his chest during the annual check-up, requiring no further treatment. BLOOMBERG

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