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Yeah, Sure, You're All There Cognitively


In recent television appearances, the first with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the second with Fox News media personality Sean Hannity, one-term former President Donald Trump continues to boast about the results of the cognitive test he took back in 2018 under former White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson.

It's high time to educate his followers about this boast, the test, and his own inconsistencies when discussing it.


First off, it's important to understand what the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is and why one gets administered such an exam.

The MoCA test was created by Canadian neurologist Dr. Ziad Nasreddine. The test is 30 questions and designed to take 10 minutes. Questions include drawing a clock, copying a picture of a cube and identifying pictures of animals.

The different parts of the MoCA are labeled according to what they test, with the clock test falling under “visuospatial/executive.” Questions about the current year and date are under “orientation.” The request to identify a drawing of a camel is under “naming.” In the test’s scoring instructions, it explains what is covered: “attention and concentration, executive functions, memory, language, visuoconstructional skills, conceptual thinking, calculations and orientation.”

“I created the test in 1996 as a screening examination where we ask the patient several questions," Nasreddine told NBC News. "Each question is accessing a different part of the brain in terms of cognition.”

It’s a test only given by doctors and not meant for the general public.

“It has to be interpreted by a physician who has expertise in cognitive disorders and cognition,” Nasreddine said.


So before going much further, does Dr. Ronny Jackson hold expertise in cognitive disorders and cognition? The short answer is no. While Jackson has served in the White House Medical Unit since 2005, including under three different presidents, he is not a specialist in cognitive disorders and cognition.

This fact alone should throw Trump's claims of acing into question.

On other separate occasions, it had become apparent that Trump's medical teams had lied about his status.

When the same doctor who administered the MoCA reported Trump's body weight at 239 pounds, just a single pound under the Body Mass Index for declaring someone obese, many openly questioned the validity of Jackson's reporting.

During Trump's infection with Covid, his doctors both misled about when he became contagious, when he received certain treatments, and the seriousness of his illness.

Trump's narcissistic personality does not allow him to be seen as weak to the public, so it became painfully obvious to many that the information being shared through his medical team was dubious, at best.

In his media appearance with Greg Abbott of Texas, Trump had trouble remembering how many questions were in the test, claiming that the test 'had 35 questions.'

In a previous appearance with Chris Wallace of Fox News, Trump had this to say about the test, “Yes, the first few questions are easy, but I'll bet you couldn't even answer the last five questions. I'll bet you couldn't, they get very hard, the last five questions,” he told (Chris) Wallace.

Looking back up at the test, one should note that the last five questions ask what's the date, month, year, day, location, and what city that location is in. Those are the five questions Trump thinks are 'hard.' That's saying something right there.

And for a guy with such perfect cognition, he sure does mess up a lot of names of people he likely just got briefed to announce as you can see below.

And it's not just names. Trump seems to have recurring issues finding common words when he gives his speeches. The media have even come up with a series of mashups to highlight when Trump fails at recalling things as seen below.

All of these cognitive attacks the right is currently spewing daily sure does seem hypocritical when they can overlook so many failures from their chosen one. It's kind of hard to take their claims seriously when they are so willing to overlook the obvious that's right in front of them.

If anyone really needs proof of Trump's forgetfulness, just ask him a question about previous actions or statements about Russia. Politico noted twenty-seven times where Trump drew a blank about that topic.

So seriously right-wingers, try taking a harder look in the mirror before claiming to be experts about judging someone else's cognition. Based on who you're currently backing, you don't seem to have much ability to determine impairment.

Trump's likely test submission

Trump's likely test submission


Kyler J Falk from California on July 01, 2021:

I've long been an advocate for a non-political, scientist-only board to have a final say on bills that affect the general populous directly, even as far as calling for a branch of government that would be an addition to our system of checks and balances, and would run like a scientific meritocracy. It would never work as far as being non-partisan, it would have the same corruption, but at least the idea is feel-good medicine for the idealist dying inside me.

I suppose I'm all about meritocratic systems anyways, because I feel like both the accomplishments and follies of those who make their way into power are widely swept under the rug purposefully, lest the public find out every candidate is a total pile of doo doo before they get the chance to run in any meaningful capacity.

Yes, though, absolute thumbs up from me on establishing a meaningful system for physical and mental wellness evaluations.

JOC (author) from Syracuse, NY on July 01, 2021:

Yeah, I haven't taken, or done much research into, IQ tests before. So you definitely have enlightened me a bit about how intensive they can be.

There should be a non-political board of doctors that evaluate and report on both the physical and mental state of candidates prior to handing our nominations. I think we, as voters, can all agree that that information would be important in our choice of candidates.

Kyler J Falk from California on July 01, 2021:

Last time I took an IQ test it contained all of these same questions, but over one-hundred more unique from this one, and I had to work with my hands on different physical puzzles. There were individual tests in all different subjects based on memory, and then it was all repeated in such a way to test ability to learn on the fly. I am not sure if the way tests are performed differ from your knowledge of them, but the way I was tested measured a myriad of different cognitive functions, and basic intelligence was simply one portion aside from the cognitive tests.

It must be noted, however, this IQ test was so long it had to be taken over a period of two days, and I'm not sure if all physicians in every practice actually offer it. As well, I feel like a president doesn't have the time to sit for two days and take tests. I'd agree with you that we really need to up the standard for qualifications with these guys; I'm tired of old farts who can barely keep up with themselves getting to sit on the throne.

JOC (author) from Syracuse, NY on July 01, 2021:

Seems IQ testing might be better for general intelligence and memory. MoCA is only 25 years old and tests more functionality across a wider spectrum.

And it would be interesting to have all candidates screened a bit better if we're going to allow them to hold the codes to technology that could evaporate the planet.

Kyler J Falk from California on July 01, 2021:

This test is so outdated and flimsy that I'm surprised it hasn't been replaced yet. A standard IQ test would be a much better way to test them, and more in-depth knowledge could be gained from the objective measurements, as almost nothing in the official IQ tests depends on interpretation. It would also be interesting to do this while comparing their former IQ test claims, to their actual IQ tests, because it is becoming increasingly prevalent for IQ tests to have large shifts as an individual ages and changes their lifestyle.

My bet is that both Biden and Trump would score near-equally, but perhaps Biden a little higher than Trump.

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