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Memory Lapse? Trump Botches Name of His Cognitive Test Doctor

By Jake Beardslee · June 16, 2024

Detroit, MI - In yet another sign that age remains a central issue in the 2024 presidential race, former President Donald Trump fumbled the name of the doctor who administered his cognitive test during a campaign speech on Saturday.  Max Curran/The Palm Beach Post / USA TODAY NETWORK

Challenging President Joe Biden to a similar assessment, Trump stated that "Doc Ronny Johnson" gave him a cognitive test that he "aced," The Hill reported.  SUCHAT PEDERSON/DELAWARE NEWS JOURNAL / USA TODAY NETWORK

However, the physician's name is actually Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), the former White House doctor who oversaw Trump's 2018 evaluation.  Jack Gruber / USA TODAY

The verbal slip reignited long-simmering worries about the mental capacities of Trump, 78, and Biden, 81, whose advanced ages would make either the oldest president to serve a second term.  Joe Biden: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (source: Joe Biden); User:TDKR Chicago 101 (clipping)Donald Trump: Shealah Craighead (source: White House)Сombination: krassotkin / Wikimedia

As CNBC recently reported, some top business leaders were "shocked" by Trump's "rambling" comments at a private meeting last week.  Max Curran/The Palm Beach Post / USA TODAY NETWORK

Trump has repeatedly brandished his cognitive test results as proof of superior mental prowess. In his characteristic style, he proclaimed in 2020: “And they were very surprised. They said, that’s an unbelievable thing. Rarely does anybody do what you just did. But he should take that same test.”  Max Curran/The Palm Beach Post / USA TODAY NETWORK

Yet the former president has developed a pattern of muddling names, from reportedly struggling to remember senior staff to erroneously identifying public figures like "Doc Ronny Johnson."  Max Curran/The Palm Beach Post / USA TODAY NETWORK

Biden, meanwhile, has previously waved off age-related attacks with the line: "Watch me. It's all I can say," when questioned on PBS Newshour about his age and fitness.  Jasper Colt / USA TODAY NETWORK

Still, nearly 90% of Americans believe Biden is too old for a second term, per a February survey, and over half feel the same about Trump, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll.  Adam Schultz / Wikimedia

With the two frontrunners locked in a virtual tie, any perceived stumble could sway an election where mental sharpness has emerged as a pivotal issue.  Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos / Wikimedia

Both campaigns can expect the age question to persist.  Max Curran/The Palm Beach Post / USA TODAY NETWORK