Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), the former White House physician for former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, sent a letter to Democrat President Joe Biden on Thursday demanding that Biden immediately submit to a cognitive test because his “mental decline and forgetfulness have become more apparent over the past eighteen months.”
The letter — which was signed by more than a dozen other lawmakers, including by another physician and a dentist — told Biden that he should “follow the precedent set by former President Trump to document and demonstrate sound mental abilities.”
“The American people should have absolute confidence in their President,” the letter states. “They deserve to know that he or she can perform the duties of Head of State and Commander in Chief. They deserve full transparency on the mental capabilities of their highest elected leader. To achieve this, we urge you to submit to a cognitive test immediately. We implore you to then publish the test results, so the American people know the full mental and intellectual health of their President, and to set an example for all Presidents to follow going forward.”
The letter then documented numerous instances of Biden appearing to have had struggles:
Previously, while on the campaign trail, you agreed to a similar assessment. At first, you “grew testy” and questioned “why the hell would I take a test,” according to an AP report. Later, you relented and said you were “very willing to let the American public judge my physical, mental – my physical, as well as my mental fitness and to, you know, to make a judgement about who I am.”
"I am, I am very willing to let the American public judge my physical and mental fill, my physical as well as my mental fitness and uh, to uh, you know, to make a judgment about who I am, and what state of affairs I have."pic.twitter.com/lRjb7DOdOI
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) August 6, 2020
The letter continued documenting instances where Biden appeared to struggle:
As you may remember, starting in 2018, political opponents and members of the media clamored for then-President Trump to take a cognitive test. In response, the White House Physician conducted a Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA) for President Trump, at which he excelled.
According to Dr. Ziad Nasreddine, the neurologist who created the test, MOCA is a simple screening tool to identify early signs of mental impairment. Dr. Nasreddine said the test is best administered when a person or their loved ones “start noticing mental decline,” particularly forgetfulness on ordinary tasks. MOCA results allow a medical expert to identify “cognitive impairment that comes with diseases like Alzheimer’s, stroke, or multiple sclerosis.” This is pertinent since it was publicly documented during your candidacy that you had previously suffered from aneurysms associated with at least one hemorrhagic stroke. Certain behaviors that signal someone should take the exam include “patients repeating themselves, losing car keys frequently, forgetting recent events, and multiple instances of forgetting conversations.” Unfortunately, your forgetfulness and cognitive difficulties have been prominently on display over the past year.
Unfortunately, your mental decline and forgetfulness have become more apparent over the past eighteen months. In March, you forgot the name of the Pentagon, the Department of Defense, and the Defense Secretary, though you had said “Secretary Austin” just a few moments prior. The official White House transcript reads, “And I want to thank Sec- – the former general- I keep calling him ‘General.’ My – the guy who runs that outfit over there.”
Additionally, at the end of February, you visited Houston to survey the winter storm damage, where you misidentified the time of day and Senator John Cornyn’s title, and you mispronounced Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s first name and Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher’s maiden name of Pannill. Then, apparently forgetting the purpose of your visit, you questioned, “what am I doing here?” The White House transcript from 4:30 CST reads “…it’s dinner time. Good afternoon – or almost. Actually, it’s evening. And I want to thank you, Governor and Mrs. Abbott, for your hospitality and your friendship. And Representative – Senator Cornyn, I think he had to go back; I think he’s getting on a plane. He told me last – he came in to see me last event. And Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee, Al Green, Sylvia Garcia, Lizzie Pannilli [sic] – excuse me, Pannill [Fletcher] – and-what am I doing here? I’m going to lose track here.”
In May, you remembered an article from “my fourth or fifth year as vice president. .. ” that said, “Biden travels 1,300,000 miles on Air Force One,” though, as you know, the Vice President actually travels aboard Air Force Two. You continued the story to explain that you took frequent trips home that year because your mom was sick, and to remember an Amtrak conductor named Angelo Negri who congratulated you on reaching 1,500,000 career miles on Amtrak. However, the timeline of that story does not match up. Your fourth year as vice president would have been 2013, Negri’s obituary states he retired from Amtrak in 1993, and your mother passed away in 2010.
Finally, in March of 2020, you started to recite the oft-quoted first line of the Declaration of Independence, but you seemingly forgot the phrase. You stated, “We hold these truths to be self-evident. All men and women are created, by the, you know, you know the thing.” Most school-age children could recite that famous and revered patriotic phrase by heart, but you could not.
The letter noted how Democrats have said in the past that there is a real chance that “there will be future situations where the president’s physical and mental state may create issues for us” and that Democrats introduced legislation to establish an independent commission to examine a president’s fitness for office and determine “whether the President is mentally or physically unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office.”
The letter said Biden should “follow the example set by President Trump” by undergoing “a cognitive test as soon as possible and immediately making the results available for the American people.”
Jackson reported to the White House Medical Unit (WHMU) during the Bush era in 2006, but he did not start as physician to the president until July 2013, a position in which he served until March 28, 2018. Jackson served as WHMU director from March 2010 through December 2014. Jackson also served as the first chief medical advisor to the president from February 2019 until December 2019. Jackson later ran as a Republican in Texas’s 13th Congressional District in this last election cycle and won.