CNN's Jake Tapper cut short an interview with President Donald Trump's daughter-in-law and campaign adviser, Lara Trump, after she claimed that Democratic nominee Joe Biden suffers from cognitive decline, despite offering no evidence to support her.
In the Sunday interview on CNN's State of the Union, Lara defended previous remarks that Tapper said made it sound like she was poking fun at Biden's history with a stutter, but she said she was merely trying to highlight his alleged cognitive decline, which is a key Trump campaign message.
Tapper began the segment by playing a January video in which Lara, 38, can be heard saying, "Every time he comes onstage or they turn to him, I'm like 'Joe, can you get it out? Let's get the words out, Joe.' You kind of feel bad for him."
"How do you think it makes little kids with stutters feel when they see you make a comment like that?" Tapper asked.
"First and foremost, I had no idea that Joe Biden ever suffered from a stutter," Lara said. "I think what we see onstage with Joe Biden, Jake, is very clearly a cognitive decline. That's what I'm referring to."
"I think you were mocking his stutter," Tapper interjected. "And I think you have absolutely no standing to diagnose somebody's cognitive decline."
Tapper added that he was sure Lara, who is married to the president's son Eric Trump, would be offended were someone to question President Trump's own cognitive ability.
“I would think that somebody in the Trump family would be more sensitive to people who do not have medical licenses diagnosing politicians from afar,” Tapper said. “Plenty of people have diagnosed your … father-in-law from afar and I’m sure it offends you.”
"I'm not diagnosing him," Lara claimed.
"You just talked about a 'cognitive decline,' " Tapper shot back.
Though Tapper then tried to switch gears, saying he had one more question to ask, Lara continued speaking about Biden's supposed "decline." After several more seconds of back-and-forth between the two, Tapper cut her off, thanking her for her appearance and switching to a new topic while she disappeared from the split screen.
As the interview aired, Eric tweeted that Tapper was "so angry and smug."
In response to criticism of his own mental fitness, Trump, 74, has touted his own purported "genius," and, in July, told Sean Hannity he "aced" a cognitive test.
As Fox News anchor Chris Wallace later noted, however, the test Trump said he "aced" is fairly rudimentary and involves identifying species of animals and counting backwards from 100.
"It's not the hardest test," Wallace, 72, said in a July interview with the president. "They have a picture and it says 'what's that' and it's an elephant."
"No, no, no," Trump replied, adding that "the first few questions are easy," but the test gets harder.
"I'll guarantee you that Joe Biden could not answer those questions," Trump said.
He has continually made his intelligence (or other people’s lack thereof) a theme of his 2020 campaign, even as he has frequently been on the receiving end of ridicule when it comes to his smarts.
In the first presidential debate between him and Biden, Trump took a swipe at the former vice president's college career, alleging he graduated "one of the lowest in [his] class."
Trump's own niece, meanwhile, has claimed that Trump cheated on his SATs in order to get accepted into college, a charge that the White House denies.
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