Even A Child Could Have Passed The Ridiculous Mental Capacity Test Trump Took
It is clear after a year in office that even the most routine functions of the presidency will be engulfed in controversy under President Trump. No President since Richard Nixon has refused to release tax returns. Trump refuses, and there is no formal obligation for him to do otherwise. No President since John Kennedy hired a close relative. Trump has, but anti-nepotism laws passed during the Lyndon Johnson administration do not apply to West Wing appointments, which are solely at the President’s discretion.
Getting an annual physical is as routine as it gets, whether one is President of the United States or not. Every President since Gerald Ford has publicized the results of their physical examinations. America waited as year-end approached, to see if Trump would undergo the sort of rigorous physical exam past Presidents have undergone. When Trump announced he would, the questions shifted to “When?” and “What information will be released?”
What made Trump’s physical examination unique was the inclusion of a cognitive examination to assess Trump for memory loss or the onset of dementia. In Trump’s case, Admiral Dr. Ronny Jackson (the Presidential physician) administered the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). There are several versions of the assessment, but based on some graphics and questions made public so far, it is most likely the assessment Trump was administered is the one pictured here.
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Dr. Jackson reported Trump scored a 30/30 on the assessment. Someone with President Trump’s ego will likely focus on the perfection, their unbeatable score placing them above all others. They might also ask their physician to specifically highlight the perfect score when discussing the assessment. The reality is that perfection is the expectation. A score less than 27 indicates dementia, and as many of the questions are valued at three points, there is really no margin for error.
The test might as well be for a child.
- Name the animals in these pictures.
- Read these letters aloud and tap every time you say ‘A’.
- How many words do you know that begin with ‘F’?
- What do bananas and oranges have in common?
But a child being able to score 30/30 is exactly the point. A toddler can identify animals at 18 months. If an adult at 71 cannot do so any longer, a serious loss of cognitive function is indicated. This is not an intelligence test. It is also not an assessment of overall mental health or stability. This is a classic Trump bait-and-switch. He refers to himself, on the record, as a “very stable genius” and then provides “proof” that measures neither his intelligence nor his mental stability.
Opinions vary on what qualifies as ‘fitness for office’ when evaluation the President of the United States. Dr. Eleanor “Connie” Mariano, the White House physician under George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton described it this way:
“Having been at the White House for nine years, my opinion is only as it impacts their ability to perform their job in office, which is to make decisions and communicate.”
Dr. Jamie Wells, the Director of Medicine at the American Council on Science and Health, lists only five ‘disqualifying conditions’ which would make one unfit for the presidency:
- Conditions that impaired normal mental and brain function. This would include dementia, Alzheimer’s, and significant damage from stroke.
- Intractable seizure disorders
- Neurological and neurodegenerative diseases This could include diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, although strong consideration must be given to the severity.
- Psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia This would also include homicidal or suicidal tendencies, psychotic events, and recent mania.
- Addiction As with diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, severity and impairment would be the consideration.
Dr. Jackson declared President Trump in “excellent health” while apparently glossing over some obvious concerns. The President takes Crestor to manage his cholesterol, but his cholesterol was still in the “high” range and will require the dosage to be increased. At a reported 6’3″ and 239 pounds, President Trump is “overweight” according to the Adult Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, with the President’s BMI at 29.9, gaining a single pound (or not actually being 6’3″) would land him in the “obese” range. The President also takes aspirin for his heart, Propecia for his hair loss, and applies a topical cream to treat rosacea.
The full report can be found below.
Featured image illustration by Reverb Press, using a photos Drew Angerer/Getty Images, and The Montreal Cognitive Assessment.
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Dave Weaver is a freelance political journalist and author. Born in Pennsylvania, which was home most of his life, Dave has called Maryland, New York, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ohio, and Maine home over the last decade. All the wandering has allowed Dave to experience America (and Americans) from a variety of perspectives. For a political junkie, the insights gained from this exposure are invaluable.