If you didn’t catch Chris Wallace’s hour-plus interview with the president on “Fox ‘News’ Sunday,” there are plenty of snippets available around the web. Sitting through the whole, grueling exercise in real journalism on a fake news network is like watching a creepy kid fry a wriggling ant with a magnifying glass.
Wallace grilled Trump in a way none of his Fox colleagues would dare to emulate, and effectively immolated any lingering doubt that the president is a 74-year-old toddler coming down from a historic sugar high. Trump, as usual, dodged, lied and hyperbolized. Wallace, unexpectedly, challenged Trump with facts, something the president clearly didn’t see coming and really did not like.
There’s too much to unpack here in a single blog, so let’s focus on just one of Wallace’s triumphs of preparation. For months, Trump has bragged about “acing” a cognitive test used to evaluate early signs of dementia.
When Wallace raised a recent Fox “News” poll in which people said former vice president and presumed Democratic nominee Joe Biden is more mentally fit than the “stable genius” he is clobbering in the polls, Trump harrumphed.
“Let’s take a test right now,” Trump hissed. “Let’s go down, Joe and I will take a test. Let him take the same test that I took.”
Trump opened the door, and Wallace slammed it in his angry, orange face.
From the transcript:
WALLACE: “Incidentally, I took the test too when I heard that you passed it.”
TRUMP: “Yeah, how did you do?”
WALLACE: “Well, it’s not the hardest test. They have a picture and it says ‘what’s that’ and it’s an elephant.”
TRUMP: “No, no, no…You see, that’s all misrepresentation.”
WALLACE: “Well, that’s what it was on the web.”
TRUMP: “It’s all misrepresentation. Because, 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.”
WALLACE: “Well, one of them was count back from 100 by seven.”
TRUMP: “Let me tell you…”
TRUMP: “You couldn’t answer many of the questions. I’ll get you the test, I’d like to give it. I’ll guarantee you that Joe Biden could not answer those questions.”
In fact, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test asks patients to identify well-known animals, from elephants to lions to camels, horses and mice. It also asks what city you’re in. The test prompts you to draw a clock and a cube and match numbers with letters of the alphabet. A is 1, B is 2… Later questions require rote memorization of phrases and “abstract” comparisons like, “Tell me how an orange and a banana are alike.” They are both fruits, Both have peels…
For anyone who is not cognitively impaired, there are no difficult questions on the test. Read a copy of the test and a guide for its administration here and judge for yourselves. Trump is bragging about “acing” a test only someone with early-onset dementia would fail.
This is the President of the United States, bragging that he’s not too senile to tell you what city he is in and asking for praise because he can draw a clock and knows a camel when he sees it.
The real hard question here is “How in hell did this wreck of a man ever get elected?” BONUS QUESTION: “How in hell does anyone believe that what this country needs is four more years of Trump?”