Lindsey Graham calls for physical and cognitive tests for Biden and Trump

<span>Senator Lindsey Graham speaks to reporters about a bill to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, at the Capitol in Washington DC, on 20 June 2024.</span><span>Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP</span>
Senator Lindsey Graham speaks to reporters about a bill to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, at the Capitol in Washington DC, on 20 June 2024.Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP

South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham added his voice on Sunday to a chorus calling for cognitive and physical evaluations for Joe Biden – but also called for the same for Donald Trump and others.

The Republican lawmaker recommended such tests for all future presidential nominees as well as those who may take over from a president or a nominee.

“All nominees for president going into future should have neurological exams as part of an overall physical exam … Let’s test Trump. Let’s test Biden. Let’s test the line of succession”, the 68-year-old Graham told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday.

“This is a wake-up call for the country,” he added. “We need to make sure that the people who are going to be in the line of succession are capable of being commander-in-chief under dire circumstances.”

Graham’s call for cognitive tests came after California Democrat Adam Schiff said he’d be “happy” if both Biden and Trump took tests – and predicted: “frankly, a test would show Donald Trump has a serious illness of one kind or another”. Schiff also said Biden should “pass the torch” if he can’t win “overwhelmingly”.

The issue of presidential cognitive testing comes as Biden, 81, the oldest US president in history, struggles to free himself from claims that his admittedly bad debate performance against Trump 10 days ago was not symptomatic of a broader mental decline – and that he was fit to remain the presumptive Democratic nominee for reelection this November.

Graham added: “I’m offended by the idea that he [Biden] shouldn’t take a competency test, given all the evidence in front of us,” Graham said, adding that he thinks Biden is in denial and that’s dangerous.

Asked if Trump, 78, should, too, Graham said: “Yes, yes, I think both.”

With pressure mounting on the White House, Graham said: “Most of us are concerned with the national security implications of this debate about President Biden’s health”, adding: “I’m worried about Biden … Biden being the commander in chief for the next four months.”

Graham also predicted that Biden will “most likely will be replaced” as the Democratic nominee with the US vice-president, Kamala Harris, being the most obvious choice.

“If she does become the nominee, this is a dramatically different race than it is right now, today. I hope people are thinking about that on our side”, he said.

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