New STABLE GENIUS Act Would Mandate Mental Fitness Exams for Presidential Candidates

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Penn.) announced on Jan. 9 that he will introduce the STABLE GENIUS Act to require presidential candidates to publicly disclose details of a medical exam prior to elections. (Photo: Congressman Brendan Boyle)

New STABLE GENIUS Act Would Mandate Mental Fitness Exams for Presidential Candidates

"President Trump's reckless, erratic behavior has exposed a critical flaw in our existing election process," says Rep. Brendan Boyle, the bill's sponsor.

In a clear jab at President Donald Trump's recent tweets defending his mental fitness, a Democratic congressman announced Tuesday that he is introducing the STABLE GENIUS Act, which would require presidential candidates to undergo and publicly disclose the details of a standard medical exam.

"The president believes he is a 'stable genius.' I do not," said Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Penn.). the bill's sponsor. "President Trump's reckless, erratic behavior has exposed a critical flaw in our existing election process. Before voting for the highest office in the land, Americans have a right to know whether an individual has the physical and mental fitness to serve as President of the United States."

In response to a growing public debate about the president's mental state--fueled partly by the release of an explosive new book featuring interviews with members of his inner circle--Trump said in a series of tweets on Saturday that his "two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart," and dubbed himself "a very stable genius."

Trump's tweets provoked jokes and renewed worries, while also sparking heated debates among lawyers and scholars about the Constitution's 25th Amendment, which allows for the president to be removed from office. Although the STABLE GENIUS Act--an acronym for Standardizing Testing and Accountability Before Large Elections Giving Electors Necessary Information for Unobstructed Selection--is a clear nod to the tweets, Boyle, a fierce Trump critic, emphasized his concerns with the president's behavior more broadly and a desire to avoid similar situations in the future.

"While it is necessary to take the current president's concerning behavior seriously and I support legislation to address these ongoing concerns, I believe we must also be proactive and do all we can to ensure a situation like this does not arise again," Boyle said. "My legislation provides a much needed safeguard to ensure that future presidential candidates meet the basic standards of a proper, uniform medical examination, and that this information is available to the American public before voting."

Boyle's legislation would require all presidential nominees to file a report with the Federal Election Commission certifying that he or she underwent a medical exam by the Secretary of the Navy. That report, which would be publicly available, would contain the results of the candidate's exam.

The White House has confirmed that Trump will undergo his yearly physical at the Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday, though representatives said the exam will not include any tests of his mental fitness. As Politico noted, "that decision concerns physicians and public health experts who say Trump should be assessed the same way as other elderly Americans, particularly given his globe-shaping job and his control of the U.S. nuclear arsenal."

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