Sanders Blasts Haley’s ‘Absurd’ Call For Competency Testing

2024 GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley made headlines recently by promoting a mandatory competency test for politicians over the age of 75.

Many pundits saw her proposal as a thinly veiled shot at President Joe Biden and her Republican primary challenger, former President Donald Trump, who are 80 and 76, respectively.

“In the America I see, the permanent politician will finally retire,” Haley asserted. “We’ll have term limits for Congress and mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old.”

Of course, U.S. politics is filled with numerous elected officials in their late 70s or older — including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). A spokesperson confirmed late last year that the 81-year-old would likely consider another White House bid next year if Biden decides not to seek another term.

During a CBS News interview on Sunday, Sanders bristled at Haley’s suggestion that officials of a certain age should be required to take a competency test.

“I think that’s absurd,” he said. “We are fighting racism, we’re fighting sexism, we’re fighting homophobia. I think we should also be fighting ageism. Trust people, look at people and say, ‘You know, this person is competent, this person is not competent.’”

The senator asserted that it should be up to voters to determine which political candidates are competent for office, adding: “I don’t think you make a blanket statement.”

Sanders went on to assert that “there are a lot of 40-year-olds out there who aren’t particularly competent.”

He offered praise for Biden, who will be 82 on inauguration day, claiming there is “a general consensus right now” that he has “done a good job.”

While the current president has his support, the Vermont independent said that voters should look at the positions and records of all candidates — and not their age — when deciding on a preferred candidate.

“Look at what they do, what they believe in,” Sanders advised. “What are they fighting for? What does Donald Trump stand for? Do you believe in that? Well, I certainly don’t. What does Joe Biden stand for? What is he doing? Look at him in that way, not on age.”