Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer says it wouldn’t hurt Biden to take a cognitive test
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer says it wouldn’t hurt Biden to take a cognitive test


Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday it “wouldn’t hurt” for President Joe Biden to undergo cognitive testing, a move that could allay growing concerns about his mental fitness following his poor performance at the June debate.

“I don’t think it would hurt,” the Democrat said after CNN’s Abby Phillip asked him whether Biden should take a test and require former President Donald Trump to do the same.

Whitmer acknowledged on the “NewsNight” show that the debate was “not a great success” for Biden, but rejected calls for the president to withdraw from his 2024 campaign.

“He shows up every day and fights for the American public. He cares about other people more than he cares about himself, and that’s exactly why I think that in this moment when we have Donald Trump, who has been convicted of 34 crimes and who only cares about Donald Trump, we can’t lose sight of how much is at stake,” the governor said. “We have a field, and unless someone, Joe Biden, makes an alternative decision, this is the field, and we have to get going.”

In a key interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos last Friday, Biden said his poor performance in the debate was not evidence of a serious illness. Being president, he said, means “I undergo extensive neurological testing every day.”

When asked on Friday whether he had undergone cognitive testing and an examination by a neurologist, Biden said no.

“Nobody said I had to do this. … They said I’m good,” the president said.

Following his debate performance, Biden gave no indication that he would agree to conducting such tests.

Whitmer’s comments come as Democrats grapple with the possibility that Biden’s re-election bid could hurt the party in this fall’s campaign. Nine House Democrats have called on the president to resign, and Peter Welch of Vermont on Wednesday night became the first Senate Democrat to call for him to resign.

Whitmer, who has been discussed as a possible candidate to run in the event of Biden’s resignation, attended a meeting between Biden and Democratic governors last week but did not speak to members of the press immediately afterward. On Wednesday, she endorsed the president and said she was concerned that “a lot of our energy is not being spent on Donald Trump and the existential threat that is before us, and that worries me greatly.”

“I understand that some people want to play fantasy football and just pick a few random politicians from around the country that they like and put together a list of candidates. That’s just not how it works,” she said Wednesday. “We have a president who got a nomination, who deserved it.”

When asked if she feared she might be the target of retaliation if Trump won the election, Whitmer said she had been told that Trump was maintaining a list that included both Republicans and “probably many Democrats as well.”

“I think that should tell you everything you need to know about this man,” she said.

Whitmer referred to the Supreme Court’s recent decision, which essentially grants presidents “absolute immunity” from prosecution for key official acts.

“I think anyone who is critical or has an opinion should be concerned about someone who is willing to abuse their power and use it wrongly, especially with this new Supreme Court ruling on immunity. This could be a very scary time if Donald Trump is back in the White House,” she said.

CNN’s Jen Christensen, Jack Forrest and Annie Grayer contributed to this report.

By Isla