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Jill Biden says testing president’s mental fitness ‘ridiculous’

U.S. President Joe Biden, with first lady Jill Biden, arrives at a ceremony to sign the Respect for Marriage Act on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)  (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
By Tony Czuczka Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden would “never even discuss” taking a mental competency test suggested by Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley for politicians older than 75, first lady Jill Biden said.

Her comments to CNN come in the context of Biden’s expected bid for a second term, which would make him 82 at his inauguration if he won re-election. In previously released interview excerpts, the first lady said she’s “all for” her husband running in 2024 and pointed to his recent trip to Ukraine that included a nine-hour train ride from Poland.

“Ridiculous,” Jill Biden said when asked about Haley’s proposal. “We would never even discuss something like that.”

Haley, 51, who is running against her former boss, ex-President Donald Trump, 76, proposed a mandatory mental competency test for politicians over the age of 75 in February. Another contender expected to enter the GOP fray is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who’s 44.

Biden, the oldest person to serve as U.S. president, has said he intends to run in 2024 but hasn’t announced a decision. His wife is understood to be his closest confidante within the White House. Biden has cited his family or a surprise development, such as a health crisis, as potential deterrents to another run.

Biden has faced questions and Republican attacks based on his age in the buildup to 2024. “It’s legitimate for people to raise issues about my age,” he said in an ABC News interview in February. “It’s totally legitimate to do that. And, the only thing I can say is ‘watch me.’”

The president’s doctor said Biden is “healthy” and “vigorous” following a routine physical on Feb. 16. On Friday, the White House said Biden had a cancerous skin lesion removed from his chest during the annual checkup, requiring no further treatment.