If some of the defining characteristics of a fascist are an obsession with law and order and national security, a comfort with corruption, the overuse of nationalist symbols, and a need to paint whole groups of people—from immigrants to socialists to “ANTIFA”—as enemies of the state, perhaps we can add another one to the list—being incredibly, incredibly dumb.
On Wednesday night, Donald Trump sat down again with Fox News and decided to use several minutes of the interview to brag, for at least the fourth time in recent months, about passing a cognitive test that typically is used to diagnose dementia. Among other questions, the test, called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, asks patients to identify a series of drawings of animals.
This time, Trump was very proud that he could repeat a series of five words back to his doctors, a portion he described as “much more difficult” than the rest of the assessment. He started by describing the test. “And it was 30 or 35 questions. The first questions are very easy, the last questions are much more difficult,” he said. Trump continued: “Like a memory question. It’s like, you’ll go, ‘Person, woman, man, camera, TV.’ So they’d say, ‘Could you repeat that.’ So I said, ‘Yeah. So it’s, person, woman, man, camera, TV.’”
According to Trump, the doctor then said that was “very good” and that “if you get it in order you get extra points.” He further explained the very difficult portion of the test. “Now he’s asking you other questions, other questions, and then ten minutes, 15 to 20 minutes later, they’d say, ‘Remember the first question? Not the first, but the tenth question. Give us that again, can you do that again?’ And you go, ‘Person, woman, man, camera, TV.’ If you get it in order, you get extra points. They said, ‘Nobody gets it in order.’ It’s actually not that easy. But for me it was easy.”
He continued, somehow: “And that’s not an easy question. In other words, they ask it to you, they give you five names and you have to repeat ’em, and that’s okay. If you repeat ’em out of order, that’s okay. But, but you know, it’s not as good. But then when you go back about 20, 25 minutes later, and they say, ‘Go back to that question’—they don’t tell you this—‘go back to that question and repeat ’em. Can you do it?’ And you go, ‘Person, woman, man, camera, TV.’ They say, ‘That’s amazing. How did you do that?’ I do it because I have, like, a good memory. Because I’m cognitively there.”
Trump then encouraged his opponent Joe Biden to take the test, because “it’s going to probably happen to all of us.” He then listed a group of dictators that he likely admires: “President Xi is sharp. President Putin is sharp. Erdoğan is sharp. You don’t have any non-sharp people that you’re dealing with.”
According to Ziad Nasreddine, the doctor who created the Montreal Cognitive Assessment in 1996, the MCA should typically only take 10 minutes, which raises some questions about Trump’s memory of taking the test. “It’s supposed to be easy for someone who has no cognitive impairment,” Nasreddine told Marketwatch.