During her campaign launch, only days ago, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed support for mandatory competency tests for any elected official over the age of 75, citing concerns about their ability to carry out their duties effectively. However, Senator Bernie Sanders, who is 80 years old himself, strongly disagreed with Haley’s proposal.
On Sunday’s episode of CBS News’s Face the Nation, Sanders argued that age should not be the sole determining factor in assessing an elected official’s competency. Instead, he suggested that performance and cognitive abilities should be evaluated individually, regardless of age. In addition, Sanders pointed out that many younger politicians have exhibited poor judgment and lack of competence, while many older politicians have remained sharp and effective in their roles.
Furthermore, Sanders argued that Haley’s proposal was discriminatory and unfair to older Americans who may still have much to offer in their public service. He noted that older Americans have valuable life experiences and perspectives that can bring unique insights to political decision-making.
Nikki Haley responded to Bernie’s comments on Sunday by doubling down on her stance and tweeting, “Exactly what a career politician and socialist would say. This is about transparency. The Washington establishment is afraid of the people finding out some of our leaders aren’t fit to serve.”
Exactly what a career politician and socialist would say. This is about transparency. The Washington establishment is afraid of the people finding out some of our leaders aren’t fit to serve #LetTheSunshineIn https://t.co/mvxxn6cz6O
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) February 19, 2023
The issue of age in politics is not a new one. In the 2020 U.S. presidential election, both major-party candidates, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden were in their 70s. The question of whether older politicians have the necessary physical and mental stamina to perform the duties of the presidency was frequently debated throughout the campaign, leading former President Trump to take and ace a cognitive competency test voluntarily. Biden did not do the same.
Responding to a cheering Charleston, S.C. crowd during her campaign announcement Haley said, “We’re ready. Ready to move past the stale ideas and faded names of the past, and we are more than ready for a new generation to lead us into the future. America is not past our prime. It’s just that our politicians are past theirs.”