Not to brag or anything, but it appears that the president of the United States and I just scored back-to-back aces on pretty much the same test.
The difference is Donald Trump, a man who’s described himself as a “very stable genius,” has chosen to boast about his alleged A to the whole country.
I wouldn’t brag about it because the questions were so easy. I didn’t even mention the test to my wife until I heard the president bragging about it on national TV. I found myself saying, “Wait a minute, those are the same questions I had!”
Trump has bragged repeatedly about his score on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test. It’s a 10-minute screening exam he took a while back at Walter Reed Army Hospital, to assure doctors he’s still sharp enough to run the whole country.
I took my test at my doctor’s office a couple of weeks ago during my semi-annual medical exam because I’ve reached a certain age.
Trump is 74. I recently turned 75.
Trump’s test, and mine, are not precisely the same, according to my doctor, who’s familiar with both exams. But there are plenty of similarities.
On Trump’s test, he was asked to count backwards from 100 by 7.
On my test, I was asked to count backwards from 100 by 7.
On Trump’s test, he was given five words in order and asked to recite them back a little later.
So was I.
He was asked to identify a cartoon drawing of an animal.
So was I.
If you think these are tough, the first question I got was, “What is today’s date?”
The second one asked if I knew where we were.
I aced ‘em both. Not that I’m bragging.
On Trump’s test, one of the standard questions asks the patient to draw a clock with the hands showing it’s 10 after 11.
On the subject of those five words that had to be repeated, Trump claims the doctors were astonished at his ability to remember them.
“They said nobody gets it in order,” Trump told Fox News. He said the doctors called it “amazing.”
Apparently, the doctors missed the big news that I, too, recited all five of my words in order. But my doctor didn’t call it “amazing.” He just nodded his head. He knew it was no big deal.
According to Trump, his doctors said, “How did you do that?”
“I do it,” Trump said, “because I have, like a good memory, because I’m cognitively there.”
Such tests are designed to look for signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Despite the president’s description, they aren’t IQ tests.
Nor are they comparable to an SAT test, the classic college board exam. The president’s niece, Mary Trump, writes in her new book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” that Trump paid money to a kid named Joe Shapiro to secretly take the SAT for him so he could get into a decent college.
(Shapiro’s widow, Pam Shriver, the former tennis star out of Baltimore, says she doesn’t believe her late husband would have done such a thing.)
All of Trump’s boasting is aimed at suggesting Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential opponent, is not “cognitively there.”
My doctor knew the test was quite simple for anyone still holding onto basic cognitive skills.
Or as Peter Baker wrote the other day in The New York Times, “Presidents and those who would be president often boast of their qualifications – their education, their experience, their achievements. And then there is President Trump, who is boasting about his dementia test.”
Just for the record, my doctor said I got a perfect score on my test.
This is not the same thing as saying I should be president.
A former Baltimore Sun columnist and WJZ-TV commentator, Michael Olesker is the author of six books, including “Front Stoops in the Fifties: Baltimore Legends Come of Age” (Johns Hopkins University Press).