Sen. Bill Cassidy says it might be time for aging leaders in all three branches of government to submit to cognitive tests to make sure they’re still sharp enough for the job.
Mr. Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican and gastroenterologist, told Axios that people start to see a “rapid decline” in their 80s.
He said he is not singling anyone out, but the top leaders in Washington are at least 70 — President Biden (78), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (81), Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (70) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (79).
“It’s usually noticeable. So anybody in a position of responsibility who may potentially be on that slope, that is of concern. And I’m saying this as a doctor,” Mr. Cassidy told Axios in an interview posted Monday.
“I’m told that there have been senators in the past who at the end of their Senate terms were senile,” said Mr. Cassidy, who is 64. “I’m told that was true of senators of both parties.”
Former President Donald Trump, who is 75, frequently characterized Mr. Biden as a senile figure, saying, “He’s shot,” even as he defended his own mental acuity in basic tests.
“Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV,” Mr. Trump recounted in a Fox News interview last year, recounting the words he had to remember in sequence for a test that checks for dementia.
Meanwhile, Mr. Cassidy suggested Mr. Trump could lose the 2024 nomination if he ran.
The senator, who voted to convict Mr. Trump during his second impeachment trial, said the ex-president lost “the House, the Senate and the presidency in four years. Elections are about winning.”
Mr. Trump released a statement saying he did a lot for Mr. Cassidy and Louisiana.
“Wacky Bill Cassidy can’t walk down the street in Louisiana, a State I won by almost 20 points. He could not even be elected dog catcher today, the great people curse him,” the president said.
Mr. Trump said he prefers John N. Kennedy, the other Republican senator from Louisiana.