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“She Is Not a Physician!”: Lawmakers Get Into Tense Exchange After Yellen Is Asked About Dementia Joe’s Cognitive Issues

DCNF(DCNF)—Lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee got into a tense exchange Tuesday after Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen was questioned about President Joe Biden’s cognitive issues.

Biden froze at least twice, lost his train of thought and made multiple verbal gaffes during the June 27 CNN debate with former President Donald Trump. Republican Rep. Mike Lawler of New York asked Yellen about her meetings with Biden, prompting treasury secretary to dodge the question, claiming the meetings were “private.”

“As a cabinet secretary, have you noticed any mental or cognitive decline in any of these meetings?,” Lawler asked.

“The president is extremely effective in the meetings that I’ve been in with him. That includes many international meetings that are multi-hour, like his meetings with President Xi. I’ve met with him with other leaders who —,” Yellen said before Lawler interrupted, asking, “Are you testifying that you have not seen any mental or cognitive decline?”


Lawler’s follow-up question prompted an Democratic Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty to question whether the New York Republican’s question was appropriate, arguing that Yellen was “not a physician.”

“It’s not a medical question. It’s her interpretation as a member of the cabinet,” Lawler responded.

“I move to have those words taken down. She is not a physician!” Beatty exclaimed.

Republican Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri, who presided over the hearing, then restored order, asking for “people to not go between the witness and committee.”

“Madam Secretary, have there been any discussions among cabinet secretaries about invoking the 25th Amendment?” Lawler proceeded to ask Yellen.

“No,” Yellen responded.

Biden has faced calls to drop out of the presidential race since the debate from multiple House Democrats, according to Axios and the New York Daily News.

Biden’s age and mental fitness were issues dogging the president’s campaign before Thursday night’s debate.

On multiple occasions, Biden said he spoke with people who had died, including claiming Feb. 8 to have spoken with former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl about the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol, even though Kohl died in 2017, three days after he claimed to have spoken with former French President Francois Mitterrand, who passed away in 1996.

In September 2022, Biden asked for Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana, who was killed along with two staffers in an August 2022 motor vehicle accident, during a conference on hunger. Biden has also suffered multiple falls during his term in office, including one at the Air Force Academy in June 2023, as well as falling down while on his bike in June 2022 and stumbling on the steps of Air Force One on multiple occasions.

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