Trump challenges Biden to take cognitive test that he boasts he ‘aced’

President's main line of attack against rival – that he is 'sleepy' and borderline senile – relies on voters believing he himself is healthy

Andrew Naughtie
Friday 03 July 2020 14:58 BST
Biden 'can hardly wait to compare' his cognitive ability with Trump's

Donald Trump has returned to one of his main lines of attack against Joe Biden, sharing an article that accused his opponent of hiding signs of cognitive decline and challenging him to take a dementia test on which the president scored full marks.

“He cannot pass the test I ‘aced’,” wrote Mr Trump in a tweet. “He should give it a try!!!”

The test Mr Trump took is the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA), which was administered to him during his 2018 physical exam. He scored 30 out of 30 on the test, with his physician saying at the time that the president had requested the test himself and “has absolutely no cognitive or mental issues whatsoever”.

The MOCA, which is used to test for early signs of dementia, requires subjects to name certain animals, draw a clock face that reads 11:10, and name as many words as they can beginning with the letter “F” in one minute. An extra point is automatically added to the test result if the person taking it is aged 12 or under.

While Mr Trump and his campaign have relentlessly mocked Mr Biden for his supposed mental decline, sharing videos of him apparently slurring his words and smearing him with the nickname “Sleepy Joe”, there are reports that his attempts to focus voters’ attention on the subject are not working – and that they may even be hurting Mr Trump’s chances among older voters, some of whom find the attacks distasteful.

Meanwhile, there are efforts underway to undermine confidence in Mr Trump’s health, or at least to enrage him by raising the subject. The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump campaign group set up by Republican campaign operatives, recently created an ad titled “#TrumpIsNotWell” showing the president hobbling down a ramp, struggling to drink a glass of water and fumbling words.

For his part, Joe Biden seems unfazed by Mr Trump’s neurological line of attack. At a press conference this week, a reporter asked him if he’d taken a test. In response, he said: “I’ve been tested, I’m constantly tested.

“Look, all you gotta do is watch me, and I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I’m running against. Thank you so much.”

The original tweet Mr Trump invoked came from the Republican Party’s “rapid response” director, Steve Guest, who in turn had linked to an article on far-right conservative outlet Breitbart claiming without evidence that the Biden campaign had withheld the results of cognitive fitness tests the Democratic candidate has taken.

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