In the kind of self-own that only the journalistic resources of CNN can bring you, punditry wonder twins Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo mocked the mental acuity test President Donald Trump took — only to miss a question when they tried it on their own.
The background: On Wednesday, during an interview with Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel, Trump said that due to the “stamina” and “mental health” requirements of the presidency, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden owed it to the nation to take the same cognitive test the president has passed.
“In a way, he has an obligation to,” Trump said.
“Because I can tell you President Xi [Jinping of China] is sharp, [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin is sharp, [Turkish President Recep] Erdogan is sharp,” he said. “You don’t have any non-sharp people that you’re dealing with.”
The subtext is obvious: Biden isn’t just 77, he comes across as a high-mileage 77.
Few candidates can legitimately claim a lack of media coverage during a presidential campaign has helped them the way that the former vice president can; Biden’s inability to make it through an entire debate without saying something embarrassing became a running joke before we had a whole host of other things to concern ourselves with.
Of course, the fact we have those things to concern ourselves with is part of the reason the Trump team wants Biden to take the cognitive test.
To Lemon and Cuomo, however, the test — officially known as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment — was ridiculously simple.
In some of the banter between the two hosts on Wednesday night’s show, they mocked the fact that the test involved remembering patterns like “person, woman, man, camera, TV.”
“The president talked about his acuity test tonight and he said he can remember ‘person, woman, man camera, TV,'” Lemon said.
“And no one had ever done that before. Because later they came back to him and he was able to answer it again. And so he aced it. But there’s some question about when this test was given and who gave it to him.”
Lemon and Cuomo had a good laugh over this, with Cuomo joking he should be a bit worried about the test because “I am not 100 percent in the melon.” (I shouldn’t. I really shouldn’t.)
“I have — not word recall issues. But I say the wrong things sometimes,” Cuomo continued.
“Especially when I’m tired. I know everybody is saying, ‘Who doesn’t?’ I don’t. This is new for me. So I don’t know why he was getting an acuity test.”
We were about to find out. There were three animals on the sheet that you were supposed to identify in order: a lion, rhino and a camel. Cuomo quizzed Lemon on what the animals were.
“Well, it’s a lion, a hippo and a camel,” Lemon said.
“Isn’t that a rhino in the middle?” Cuomo responded.
“A rhino or a hippo,” Lemon said.
“You don’t even know a hippo from a rhino?”
“A rhino — sorry,” Lemon laughed.
“You got no acuity, son!” Cuomo responded.
Lemon said he was looking at it backward — and as we all know, rhinoceroses look like hippopotamuses if you look at them backward.
And let’s not exculpate the lesser of the Cuomo brothers here.
Just moments later: “What does it mean if you don’t know an elephant from a rhino?” There was, of course, never any elephant involved.
So, all in good fun, right?
Well, the whole point was that this was supposed to be ridiculously simple. Granted, this isn’t an example of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment being given in a clinical setting, but whatever they were trying to prove here, it certainly wasn’t proven.
And if Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo can’t quite get it straight, I wouldn’t make any bets in regards to Joe Biden. Just saying.
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