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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Controversy Erupts in the US over Mental Testing Proposal for Politicians over 75

Heated argument in the US after Haley suggested that politicians over the age of 75 should take a mental test. The proposal sparked a dispute among lawmakers and the public, with some arguing that it was discriminatory and ageist. The issue became a topic of debate, with different opinions being expressed on the matter. Some people supported the idea of mental tests for older politicians, while others saw it as an unnecessary and unfair requirement. The argument continued to escalate, resulting in a brawl between supporters and opponents of the proposal.

Age is a sensitive issue in American politics. Neither President Joe Biden, at 80, nor his predecessor and candidate for re-election, Donald Trump, who will turn 77 in June, want to talk or hear about it. But Republican Nikki Haley, 51, took advantage of her presentation as a candidate for the 2024 presidential elections not to comment on the matter but to dig into the wound. The former ambassador to the UN and former governor of South Carolina bet that all US politicians over 75 undergo mandatory “mental capacity tests”. And if what he wanted with that proposal was to create controversy and noise, he succeeded.

Trump’s first rival ahead of the 2024 primaries launched her challenge against older politicians while betting on “leaving behind the obsolete ideas and faded names of the past and having a new generation guide us into the future.” Because “it’s not that America has passed its best moment, but that our politicians have passed theirs,” he said at the official announcement of his candidacy, on Wednesday in Charleston, capital of South Carolina. “We will not win the fight for the twenty-first century if we continue to trust the politicians of the twentieth century,” he added.

The White House came out in a spout, with signs of pique. “We’ve heard these kinds of attacks or comments” from Republicans. “And the president beat them at his own game,” the president’s spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierre, said, then reviewed the times Republicans challenged Biden and he defeated them, at the polls or with wide-ranging legislation.

Trump responded to his competitor with a barrage of accusations and ironies through mass messages from his team. In one of the e-mails, the former president’s collaborators linked her to Hillary Clinton because years ago she said she had “inspired” her; in another, launched minutes after the election rally and titled The Real Nikki Haley, she was criticized for having supported cuts in public health; in a third, Trump wished him luck with sarcasm: “The polls give him 1%, not a bad start!”

“We will not win the fight for the twenty-first century if we continue to trust the politicians of the twentieth century,” says the candidate.

The challenge of the ultraconservative but not entirely predictable Nikki Haley provoked a spectacular fight in the opposite field when the CNN anchor and undisguised anti-Republican Don Lemon, in his eagerness to discredit the candidate, said: “She herself is not at her best, sorry. A woman is considered to be in her 20s, 30s or maybe 40s,” he said. And to back up his claim, he pointed out that that’s what you read “if you search on Google.”

One of Lemon’s two morning show partners, Poppy Harlow, asked her indignantly what she meant by “the best time for women,” the best years to have children or to serve as president.

Haley responded to the host on Twitter: “To be clear, I am NOT asking for proof of competence for middle-aged CNN sexist anchors; only for the people who make our laws and are over 75,” he wrote. Later, in another post, he added that “liberals are always the most sexist.” The issue became one of the most powerful on the net, with countless attacks on the journalist. Haley retweeted some of the most prominent ones, until turning controversy into the number one issue of her fledgling campaign. Don Lemon ended up apologizing.

The press immediately became involved in the controversy. The New York Times got into the background of Haley’s proposal within its information about the annual medical examination that Biden underwent on Thursday, with satisfactory results: the exam, the newspaper stressed, did not include useful mental training tests that can be done “in minutes.” And he cited one specialist, the chief of cognitive neurology at NYU Langone Medical Center, Thomas Wisniewski, for whom “everyone in their 80s should undergo minimal mental screening as part of an overall screening”; And “not because a doctor suspects something is wrong with a patient, but because the incidence of dementia in 80-year-old patients is considerable, about 30%.”

A “sexist” phrase about the ages of women in line with Haley’s idea opens a mini-crisis

The Washington Post highlighted an op-ed by Julianna Goldman with an eloquent title. “Biden is older, but age is not what it used to be.”

If Trump maintains his candidacy and Biden confirms it, it is certain that age will weigh on the campaign. In fact, it already weighs.

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