Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley suggested that the “entire Congress” may need to take “mental competency tests” as calls grow for some of the oldest U.S. lawmakers to retire due to apparent impairment related to their advanced age.
Haley made the remarks on CBS News’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday with guest host Robert Costa while discussing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) latest episode in which he froze while speaking to the media.
“I am completely for term limits. I’m completely for mental competency tests for anyone over the age of 75. And I’m not saying that to be disrespectful,” Haley said. “Here, you have Mitch McConnell, who’s done great service to the country. You have Dianne Feinstein, who had a great career. You’ve got Nancy Pelosi, who’s been there a long time. At what point do they get it’s time to leave?”
Haley said that it was time for a younger generation to take over and to advance America’s interests for future generations.
“This is not just a Republican or Democrat problem,” she added. “This is a congressional problem. And they’ve got to know when to leave. It is time to pass this down to a new generation of conservative leaders that want to take our country to a better place.”
When asked if Republican senators needed to “have a leadership shakeup” and get someone else to take over for McConnell, Haley slightly sidestepped the question.
“I want this for Republicans and Democrats. I want to make sure that they all know it’s time to go,” she said. “There’s a reason the American people want term limits. It’s because they don’t want people staying there forever. They don’t want people drunk on the power.”
Costa the brought up the competency tests that Haley has mentioned in the past and asked if there should be an age limit imposed on the presidency and presumably on U.S. lawmakers.
“I think there should be mental competency tests. And I don’t care if they’re for everybody 50 and older. I don’t care if they’re for the entire Congress,” she said. “These are basic tests, Bob. These are, tell us where you were born. Name four words that start with the same letter. How many grandchildren do you have? These are basic questions that anyone should be able to answer. And the way you do that is just, when a candidate files to run for office, incumbent or newcomer, they have to give their financial disclosures.”
“They should also give a notice from the doctor that tells about their mental capacity,” she continued. “I think that we need that. We can’t stand watching Dianne Feinstein sit there and be told by an aide how she should vote. We can’t worry about Mitch McConnell being frozen at a podium. We can’t have Joe Biden forget where he is.”
“Our enemies are watching all of this,” she concluded. “And every time they have an instance like that, America is less safe, because our enemies think we’re out of control. And that’s got to stop.”