Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is calling out aging politicians who refuse to retire — declaring the U.S. Senate to be “the most privileged nursing home in the country.”
Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under the Trump administration, made the comments during an interview on Thursday with Fox News. She was discussing concerns about 81-year-old Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who is facing calls for his resignation from both sides of the aisle after he froze for nearly 30 seconds during a press conference on Wednesday. This was McConnell’s second freezing incident in the past month.
While praising McConnell’s past leadership, noting that he has “done some great things,” Haley declared that “you have to know when to leave.”
She went on to mention other elderly politicians with serious cognitive decline — including President Joe Biden and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a 90-year-old career politician who has given power of attorney to her daughter yet remains in the Senate while displaying clear evidence of cognitive impairment.
Nancy Pelosi is 83
McConnell is 81
Joe Biden is 80
Dianne Feinstein is 89
America is a Gerontocracy pic.twitter.com/9V79oP5nnv
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) May 10, 2023
“No one should feel good about seeing that, any more than we should feel good about seeing Dianne Feinstein, any more than we should feel good about a lot of what’s happening or seeing Joe Biden’s decline,” Haley said. “What I will say is, right now, the Senate is the most privileged nursing home in the country.”
Haley, 51, went on to advocate for mental competency tests for politicians who are 75 years old and above — noting that she “wouldn’t care if they did them over the age of 50.”
She pointed out that these elected officials “are people making decisions on our national security. They’re making decisions on our economy, on the border. We need to know they’re at the top of their game.”
Nikki Haley: "The Senate is the most privileged nursing home in the country." pic.twitter.com/HSIDNdXfhe
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) September 1, 2023
Ironically, the question that McConnell was asked just before he froze up during the press conference was about his thoughts on running for reelection in 2026 — an idea that people on both sides of the aisle find ludicrous. The 81-year-old senator has not publicly stated whether he would be running for reelection, and his health issues have prompted renewed calls for term limits for Congress.
BREAKING: Senator Mitch McConnell appears to have a stroke when asked if he plans to run for reelection in 2026. He grips the podium so tight, his aides have a hard time getting him to release the podium.
— Bill Ellmore 𝕏 (@BillEllmore) August 30, 2023
Democrats have elected and reelected several cognitively deficient political leaders as well, including Feinstein, Biden and Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), who had a stroke just before winning the Democrat primary for his position and was still voted in. Fetterman is only 54 years old, which would make him exempt from Haley’s proposed mental competency test for politicians over 75 — despite the fact that his actions clearly demonstrate a need for a cognitive exam.