President Donald Trump on Wednesday boasted to Fox News’ Dr. Marc Siegel about the results of a cognitive test he claimed to have taken at some point during his presidency.
During the interview, Trump said the doctors who administered the test to him were “amazed,” and he even rattled off a list of words that, he said, he was required to memorize during the “difficult” portions of the test. The test Trump claims to have taken is meant to screen for dementia, and Trump’s claims about his results come as former Vice President Joe Biden has risen and surpassed Trump in many recent national polls.
Siegel, in a later segment on Fox, effusively praised Trump’s acuity, saying the president was “extremely sharp on every second” and that the interview itself amounted to a cognitive test.
Here’s what you need to know:
Trump Said Doctors Were ‘Amazed’ When He Was Able to Recite Words Like ‘Person, Woman, Man, TV, Camera’ in Order Throughout the Test
According to Trump, he took the cognitive test “a little less than a year ago,” after asking former White House physician and current presidential advisor Ronny Jackson if there was a test he could take to prove his mental acuity to the “fake news” media.
“I want to shut these people up,” Trump said he told Jackson.
The first questions on the 30 or 35-question test, Trump said, were simple. However, they became more difficult toward the end. So, Trump was first asked to repeat a series of words in order: “Person, Woman, Man, TV, Camera.”
When Trump did this successfully, he said, doctors told him that he did very well and he “got extra points” for repeating them in order. “They said nobody gets it in order. It’s actually not that easy, but for me it was easy,” Trump told Siegel. “That’s not an easy question.”
Then, when the test became “much more difficult” — somewhere between 15 and 25 minutes later — Trump was asked to repeat the words again, he said. And he did, also repeating them for Siegel.
“They say, ‘That’s amazing. How did you do that?'” Trump claimed. “I did it because I have a good memory, because I’m cognitively there.”
Trump last boasted of scoring well on a cognitive test during a July 18 interview with Chris Wallace. Trump also told Fox’s Sean Hannity earlier in the month that he “aced” a cognitive test “very recently” at Walter Reed Medical Center, Heavy reported. It’s unclear if Trump was talking about the same test with Siegel, Wallace and Hannity.
The doctor who developed what is likely the test Trump took, Ziad Nasreddine, said it is “supposed to be easy” and is “designed to detect impairment.”
Siegel Had Effusive Praise for Trump’s Performance in the Interview the Next Morning, Saying, ‘In a Sense it Was a Cognitive Test’
If you're curious how F&F is spinning it.
Marc Siegel: "In a sense, that interview was a cognitive test… he extremely sharp on every second. And he did a test on TV where he basically, you know, went through how great his memory is." pic.twitter.com/K3W7q4XROo
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) July 23, 2020
The next morning during an interview on Fox & Friends, Siegel praised Trump for his performance during the interview, telling the hosts that, in a sense, that interview was a cognitive test.”
“As you know, he is extremely sharp on every second,” Siegel said.
He added that Trump had talked about other world leaders and, “whatever you think of them, they’re incredibly sharp and you need a leader that has that level of sharpness and awareness, and that applies to the election.”
Trump offered praise for Siegel as well, during the Wednesday night interview, calling him, “You’re almost like my guide to [coronavirus] because, frankly, you really have a good take on it. You know how important it is.”
Siegel has often sided with Trump and against the ostensible head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, CNN’s Brianna Keilar said on her Thursday show.
Trump Said It’s Joe Biden’s ‘Obligation’ to Take the Test Or Something Like It to Prove He’s ‘Sharp’
Trump said that his rival in the Nov. 8 election, Joe Biden, has an “obligation” to take the test, because “something’s going on.”
“I say this with respect. I mean, it can happen to all of us,” Trump said. “But we can’t take a chance of it happening.”
“We have to have somebody that’s sharp,” Trump continued. “If this person isn’t sharp — I can tell you, President [Xi Jinping] is sharp, President Putin is sharp. Everyone is sharp. You don’t have any non-sharp people you’re dealing with, and we can’t have someone who’s not 100 percent.”
Trump added that as soon as his doctors released his scores on the cognitive test, all chatter about his mental faculties “went away.”
“Even the enemies, they don’t say it anymore, but they do say it about Biden,” he said. “In a certain way, Joe Biden has am obligation to take a test like that one or something else.”
Biden has been criticized for his relatively scarce public presence and the fact that he rarely takes questions from reporters in an unscripted setting, although his campaign insists that Biden is just following social-distancing recommendations during the coronavirus pandemic. He has also suffered a series of awkward gaffes that have led to questions about his mental acuity.
At an event in June, the Associated Press reported, Biden addressed the question of cognitive testing by saying, “I’ve been tested and I’m constantly tested … I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I’m running against.”
Heavy reached out to the Biden campaign for comment, but had not heard back as of Thursday evening.