President Donald Trump said that doctors at Walter Reed hospital were “very surprised” when he “aced” cognitive exams given as part of his annual physical, a statement that has led to some mockery online for the president.
Trump was speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity, attacking Joe Biden and saying the former vice president would not have been able to pass the test as he claimed to have done. Trump said that after concerns were raised about his own cognitive abilities, he took and “aced” a test at Walter Reed, calling on Biden to do the same.
“I proved I was all there because I aced it. I aced the test,” Trump said. “And he should take the same exact test, the very standard test. I took it at Walter Reed Medical Center in front of doctors, and they were very surprised. They said, ‘That’s an unbelievable thing. People rarely did what you just did.’ ”
The statement drew some viral attention, with clips of the interview circulating on social media and the words “Walter Reed” reaching the top of Twitter’s trends. Thought it appeared from the clip that Trump was saying the doctors were surprised to see someone score so high, many critics mocked Trump for appearing to suggest that doctors were surprised that he in particular would be able to pass a cognitive test at all.
Even if it were true, "the doctors were *very* surprised I passed a cognitive test" is not really the slam dunk the president thinks it is. https://t.co/7hk0LAFxcZ
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) July 10, 2020
Trump’s test drew controversy at the time. As Vox reported, there had been growing concerns about Trump’s fitness for office after Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House portrayed Trump as mentally unfit to hold office. This led to many calling on Trump to take a cognitive exam, which he did as part of his first full physical exam.
Trump reportedly scored a perfect 30 out of 30 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which Vox noted is a common screening exam for dementia. There were many who doubted the veracity of the claim that Trump aced the exam, especially given the history of allegations that Trump fabricated medical records in order to make himself look better.
Since that 2018 test, Trump’s cognitive abilities have been questioned a number of other times, with critics saying he does not appear to hold the temperament to hold office. Trump has turned the criticism back around on Biden, repeatedly calling for the former vice president to submit to taking cognitive exams and making the result public, as he had done.