Ex-Trump doctor turned GOP lawmaker wants Biden to take cognitive test

Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), who stirred controversy as former President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE’s White House physician, said Thursday he is circulating a letter among House GOP colleagues that calls on President BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrat threatens to vote against party's spending bill if HBCUs don't get more federal aid Overnight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Haitians stuck in Texas extend Biden's immigration woes MORE to take a cognitive test to prove he is mentally fit to be commander in chief.

Jackson began collecting signatures for his letter this week during GOP meetings and House votes.

After this story was published, Jackson tweeted that he sent the letter to Biden; Biden's physician, Kevin O'Connor; and Anthony FauciAnthony FauciWatch live: White House COVID-19 response team holds briefing Intercept reporters discuss gain-of-function research The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - DC prepares for Saturday of festivals & Jan. 6 demonstration MORE, chief medical adviser to the president.


Thirteen other Republicans joined Jackson in signing the letter. 

“Just everything that has been going on for the last year and a half … [Biden] doesn't know what's going on, where he's at. He's very confused all the time,” Jackson said in a brief interview with The Hill.


Jackson, who served as White House physician for both former Presidents Obama and Trump, has never treated or evaluated Biden, but he’s been attacking Biden’s cognitive abilities since last year’s presidential campaign.

In October, Jackson joined a Trump campaign call with reporters and said he was convinced, based on campaign gaffes, that Biden “does not have the mental capacity, the cognitive ability to serve as our commander in chief and head of state.”

Jackson's credibility was called into question in 2018, when he stepped to the White House podium and declared that Trump, despite his junk food diet, had “excellent” cardiac health, scored a perfect 30 out of 30 on a cognitive test, and was exactly one pound below what is considered as “obese.” 

Jackson chalked it up to Trump’s “incredibly good genes, and it’s just the way God made him."

More recently, Jackson was the subject of a scathing, embarrassing Defense Department inspector general’s report that said the then-White House physician made “sexual and denigrating” comments to female subordinates; consumed alcohol on presidential trips in violation of protocol; and during one of those trip, banged on the hotel door of a female colleague in the middle of the night and told her “I need you.”


ABC News also reported last year that Trump's Homeland Security Department withheld an intelligence bulletin warning that Russia was engaging in a misinformation campaign promoting "allegations about the poor mental health" of then-candidate Biden.

Biden turned 78 on Nov. 20 and made history this year by becoming the nation's oldest president. But he’s maintained a rigorous schedule since winning the White House. 

Just this week, on his first international trip as president, Biden got reacquainted with Group of Seven allies in England; reassured NATO allies in Brussels that “America is back!”; and joined a three-hour summit with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinHillicon Valley — Facebook 'too late' curbing climate falsities France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal Apple, Google remove Navalny app as Russian elections begin MORE in Geneva. 

Over Memorial Day weekend, he rode bikes with first lady Jill BidenJill BidenFirst Lady visits schools to discuss COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Biden travels west as Washington troubles mount MORE for her birthday in Delaware.

White House officials said last month that Biden is scheduled to take an annual physical exam “later this year” and will make the results publicly available. They declined to comment Thursday.

In his interview, Jackson pointed out that Trump established a precedent for Biden to take a cognitive test. Amid criticism from Democrats that Trump was mentally unfit to be president, Trump last summer said he took a cognitive test at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and had “aced it.” 

“So my point is that President Trump had to submit to that, even when I was his physician. I mean, the precedent’s already been set,” Jackson, a retired Navy rear admiral, told The Hill. “We did it and President Trump did it. And Biden, in his position, and his medical team, need to follow the lead now.”

Morgan Chalfant contributed. Updated at 7:35 p.m.