Under the circumstances it seems less than optimal that one of the standard questions on tests for dementia is “Who is the president of the United States?”
In an “interview” with Sean Hannity last night, President Trump boasted about one of his greatest accomplishments in office: passing a test used to measure patients suspected of dementia. When the recovery you inherited is in shambles, your major legislative initiatives are either unpopular (tax cuts) or failed (repealing Obamacare), and you have no plan to control a raging pandemic, you are reduced to boasts like this:
Notably, the effect of this statement reduces rather than enhances confidence in the president’s cognitive abilities. He describes an event from two and a half years ago as “very recently,” rambles through his story, and reports doctors were “very surprised” that the test did not reveal any cognitive impairment.
Trump and his allies customarily assert he “aced” the test in 2018. The result does not, however, prove that Trump is a very stable genius.
The Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which Trump took, is an extremely simple test. As James Hamblin reported at the time, its questions include the likes of knowing the date and where you are, being able to say what a train and a bicycle have in common, and correctly identifying pictures of a lion, camel, rhinoceros, and so on.
It is not an accomplishment on the order of “winning Civil War” or “enacting major social legislation.”
Second, while Trump’s perfect score was reported as fact in 2018, there is at least some reason to question it. The source for the reports was White House physician Ronny Jackson.
Jackson is a QAnon-adjacent nut case, so he’s not the world’s most reliable source on questions of mental health.
Related: Good piece from Parker Molloy on how the legacy media doesn’t know how to handle the various GOP congressional candidates running this fall who are QAnon supporters, in no small part because both sides is a hell of a drug.