Saturday, September 19, 2020

Relax, America, our nuclear codes are in the hands of a stable genius

by Jim Jones
| August 4, 2020 11:12 AM

The President has now furnished proof that he is a bonafide stable genius. Trump proudly announced to Sean Hannity on July 9 that he had “aced” the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA) as part of his annual physical two years ago. It appears that he got each and every question correct on the one-page, ten-minute test that is designed to detect mild cognitive impairment.

Trump was able to correctly call out the names of the lion, rhinoceros and camel depicted in one section, draw “ten past eleven” on the blank clock face in another section, and recall 5 words five minutes after were read to him. He flawlessly counted backwards by sevens and tapped the letter “A” where it appeared in a list of random letters. It was a truly masterful performance--magnificent enough to justify his heart-felt pride.

As Trump made his rounds of the media to expand on his remarkable feat, it dawned on me that my wife, Kelly, and I had taken and passed that same test twice, once in each of the past two years. At the time we did not realize what an extraordinary accomplishment it was.

After I retired from the Idaho Supreme Court, we both signed up for Medicare and purchased an AARP supplemental insurance policy. The policy provided for a home health visit by a nurse. If you agreed to the visit, you got a $15 Walmart gift card. During our home health visit in 2018, we first learned of the MOCA. They routinely spring it on you without warning during the course of the visit.

When we first learned that we were to be tested, it caused mild anxiety, much like a pop quiz during high school. The nurse calmed our nerves, saying it was a routine part of the visit. Although it is often administered to people when “they or others start noticing mental decline,” that was apparently not the case for us.

Kelly took the test first and finished with a perfect score. I was next and took each question as a real challenge. I was momentarily stumped by the clock drawing, trying to decide whether to use Mickey Mouse arms or just regular ones. I chose regular ones but when it was finished it looked like both arms were about the same length. The nurse gave me a passing mark anyway.

I sweated through the rest of the questions and ended up with a passing grade. In 2019, Kelly and I both passed again, this time with flying colors. Neither of us realized what a signal achievement it actually was until the President announced that his passing grade was an “amazing” accomplishment.

We are quite pleased with ourselves now, but are doubtful that we qualify for geniushood. In addition to repeating his five words back in perfect order--person, woman, man, camera, TV-- Trump has demonstrated an uncanny ability to think at an unusual level. For instance, it would not have even occurred to either of us that the simplest way to stop the coronavirus would be to stop testing for it--no tests, no virus. Or, to inject disinfectants to cleanse it from our bodies. Or, that passing a test to detect cognitive decline was a sign of high intellectual achievement. These out-of-the-box ideas are surely a sign of true genius. So, relax America, because we, and our nuclear weapon codes, are in the hands of a stable genius.

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Jim Jones is a former Idaho Supreme Court Justice and attorney general. Jim’s columns can be found at