It was truly a minor point, in the overall insanity that was Donald Trump’s interview with Fox host Chris Wallace on Sunday, but Trump continues to hold up his 2018 success on a medical screening test measuring cognitive decline as evidence of his “perfect” genius. He returned to the point again yesterday, suggesting he and challenger Joe Biden be given the same test, and was very insistent.
“It’s not that hard a test,” noted Wallace. “They have a picture and it says ‘what’s that’ and it’s an elephant.” That did not sit well with Dear Genius Leader, Identifier of Elephants. And so we find ourselves here again: Trump once again using his ability to pass a pre-dementia screening test as go-to evidence of his brilliance, telling his interviewer, who took the same test on a lark, that he could not possibly match his own clock-drawing, elephant-identifying brilliance.
I’m no doctor, but “has insisted for two years that being able to pass the Montreal Cognitive Assessment is go-to evidence of a vast intelligence, each time dismissing anyone and everyone who attempts to explain its true purpose” should probably be its own separate cognitive assessment test. It isn’t merely that Trump is unnecessarily proud; he remains quite convinced that nobody could possibly do as well on a pre-dementia cognitive assessment test as he has done. The transcript is a bit loopy.
“I’ll bet you couldn’t even answer the last five questions,” Trump tells Chris Wallace. “I’ll bet you couldn’t, they get very hard, the last five questions.”
“Well one of them was count back from 100 by seven,” replied Wallace. “Ninety three…”
“You couldn’t answer many of the questions.”
To be clear, this is a test that measures your ability to do rote tasks involving memory and cognition, given primarily to those suspected of having issues with either. And yet, here in 2020, we have Donald J. Trump challenging both his presidential challenger and, apparently, anyone else in earshot to match his (claimed) “perfect” score.
Docs don't give a cognitive test to measure intellect. We give it to assess cognitive defects. Trump calling questions on this test difficult should raise some red flags about dementia and inability to serve. pic.twitter.com/4cAmhC5Zpu
— Ankur Dave, MD (@AnkurDaveMD) July 19, 2020
Sigh. All right. Let’s take a look at “the last five questions.” While the test has different versions and so we can’t quite identify which specific questions Trump was asked, that one there is a good representative sample.
The last and presumably hardest question: Where are you. No, literally, what building are you in, in what city. What’s the date? Day of the week?
Stand back, Joe Biden. You’d dealing with a guy who knows it’s Monday. Betcha Albert Einstein himself couldn’t top that.
Another of the last five questions asks you to name as many words that begin with “F” as you can in one minute. So, for example, you could list off, um, fat festering felonious failing failson far-flung foul-faced flying fumbling failure, for funsies.
What about repeating a three-digit string backwards? Any other Americans want to give that one a go, thus proving your own presidential caliber?
It seem inevitable that Trump is, sooner or later, going to demand one of the debates be premised around who can best prove their genius via dementia screening test. God help us, it’s going to get to that point, isn’t it?
MODERATOR HUGH HEWITT: “Mr. President, if the similarity between a ‘banana’ and an ‘orange’ is that they are both fruits, what similarities are there between a ‘train’ and a ‘bicycle?’
TRUMP: “The similarity there, Hugh, is that a train is big and powerful, and a bicycle can be big and powerful too, if there’s a big guy on one. Like a really big guy. With tears in his eyes, because he’s so proud of what America has become under my leadership.”
TRUMP: “Also I’ve never owned either one. I could, because I’m rich, but never have.”
HEWITT: “The next question is for you, Vice President Biden. Please draw a clock.”
Seriously though, the person in charge of the entire country, during a global pandemic, has for two years been unable to grasp the difference between passing a pre-dementia test that every fully functional human is expected to muster a passing score on and a test which proves him to be superior to everyone around him, bar none. The man has had access to every expert the United States has to offer, and for two years now none of them have been able to successfully explain to him that the “test” was not what he thinks it is.
Is it his narcissism, his stupidity, his dishonesty, or what?