Former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson told Newsmax on Monday that both political parties in the United States should look to put younger people in office in the wake of reported cognitive difficulties among current elected officials.
"We just need to ask everybody on both sides of the [political] aisle to give other people a chance," Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, said during "Wake Up America" on Monday. "We have young people, vigorous people, with a lot of intellect and a lot of energy. Let's give those people a chance.
"We appreciate the service that you've rendered, but it's sometimes going out to pasture before you can't enjoy it."
Carson was reacting to the latest in a series of apparent cognitive issues among older elected leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who appeared to freeze in the middle of a press conference in his home state of Kentucky last week.
It was the second time since July that McConnell, 81, seemed to zone out when answering reporters' questions.
"I have consulted with Leader McConnell and conferred with his neurology team," attending congressional physician Brian P. Monahan said in a brief statement on his letterhead that was made public by Mr. McConnell's office Thursday afternoon. "After evaluating yesterday's incident, I have informed Leader McConnell that he is medically clear to continue with his schedule as planned."
Carson said that such episodes are part of some people's aging process, and result in those around them trying to hide the deficiencies.
"We need to just put on our big boy pants and do what needs to be done here and stop trying to hide," he said. "When people get older cognitive decline is manifested by poor judgment, by inability to follow conversations, decision-making issues, and a lot of times those people will hide themselves and people around them will hide them from situations where that becomes apparent.
"We just need to start thinking about what's good for our country and not what's good for that individual or their party."
He said that when the country was founded, most people did not reach the age of 60, so cognitive decline among elected officials was not an issue.
"It's well known that as people age, they sometimes have some cognitive decline. And therefore, it seems very logical that they should have that kind of testing done," Carson said. "It's done in many areas, you know, airline pilots, people in important executive positions in the private sector.
"So why wouldn't the most important job in the country require that as well? Senators and congressmen, people making big decisions when you reach a certain age, and that's a part of the complete physical examination."
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Charles Kim ✉
Charles Kim, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years in reporting on news and politics.
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