Bernie Sanders: Nikki Haley’s Demand for Mental Tests is Ageist and ‘Absurd’

Sen. Bernie Sanders slammed Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s demand for mental competency tests for politicians older than 75 as “absurd” and ageist. 

“We are fighting racism, we’re fighting sexism, we’re fighting homophobia, I think we should also be fighting ageism,” Vermont senator Sanders told CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”

“Trust people, look at people, and say ‘this person is competent, this person is not competent,'” Sanders said. 

“There are a lot of 40-year-olds out there who ain’t particularly competent,” he added.

Haley, 51, launched her 2024 campaign last week. 

Haley called for a “new generation” of leaders in her campaign launch video. But the former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador offered few policy specifics except a call for political term limits and mental competency tests.

Haley has aimed that talking point at President Joe Biden, who is an 80-year-old president. But she has not lobbied it at her former boss, former president Donald Trump, the 76-year-old who at one point had appointed her to be the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. 

Trump currently remains Haley’s only declared rival for the Republican nomination.

Sanders has mounted two strong challenges for the Democratic presidential nomination, the first in 2016 when he was 74.

“America is not past our prime. It’s just that our politicians are past theirs,” Haley said during a campaign event in South Carolina.

Both Democrats and Republicans are getting louder about age as a reason to avert a match-up between Biden, 80, and former President Trump, 76. 

Claiming she had “never worked in DC”, the former ambassador to the United Nations who was part of Trump’s White House cabinet and met with the president in the Oval Office, said it was “time that we start putting a fire on what’s happening in Congress”.

Repeating her call for term limits and “mental competency tests for people over the age of 75”, she said: “And what I do strongly believe is the American people need options. I don’t think you have to be 80 years old to be in Washington DC.”

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