What Is The Stable Genius Act? The Bill Targets Presidents’ “Mental Fitness”
President Trump's unprecedented Twitter habits inspire equal parts controversy and humor, but they're also inspiring actual legislation. A Democrat trolled Trump by introducing a "STABLE GENIUS" bill Tuesday in the House that's aimed at requiring presidential candidates to undergo certain medical examinations. While the proposed law wouldn't retroactively apply to Trump if it ever managed to pass, he'd be affected in theory if he seeks re-election in 2020, as he currently plans to do.
Rep. Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania put forward the Standardizing Testing and Accountability Before Large Elections Giving Electors Necessary Information for Unobstructed Selection Act — that's STABLE GENIUS for short — "to ensure that Presidential candidates are fit to lead," according to his tweet announcing the proposed legislation. As you may recall, the president claimed on Twitter over the weekend that winning a presidential election on his first try proves he's a "very stable genius," which inevitably led many on Twitter to mock him.
"The President believes he is a ‘stable genius.’ I do not,” Boyle said in a Tuesday press release. “President Trump’s reckless, erratic behavior has exposed a critical flaw in our existing election process. Before voting for the highest office in the land, Americans have a right to know whether an individual has the physical and mental fitness to serve as President of the United States."
The proposed legislation would require presidential nominees to file a report with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that includes the results of a medical examination given by the Secretary of the Navy's medical office. Candidates are already required to file FEC reports regarding their campaign finances, but Boyle thinks they should also have to prove they have the "mental fitness" for office. Like all candidate FEC filings, the medical reports would be available to the public.
Even though Trump wouldn't have to undergo a medical examination just yet because he's already in the White House, the Pennsylvania representative wants to ensure future presidential nominees have the approval of a doctor before taking office. "While it is necessary to take the current President’s concerning behavior seriously and I support legislation to address these ongoing concerns, I believe we must also be proactive and do all we can to ensure a situation like this does not arise again," Boyle says in the press release.
Trump's "stable genius" crack stemmed from the release of a tell-all book about the administration titled Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which questioned the president's mental fitness. "The Democrats and their lapdogs, the Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence," Trump tweeted Saturday. "Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart."
The president regularly undergoes medical exams and releases brief statements from his doctor on his weight and blood pressure, but he's not legally required to share the results with the public or have his mental state checked. That would change under the "STABLE GENIUS" bill. If the proposed law managed to pass Congress before the 2020 election kicks off and Trump runs as the GOP candidate, he would be required to undergo the outlined medical exams — which would then go online for the world to see.
Trump's team already has begun preparing for a 2020 re-election campaign despite his historically low approval ratings. The president also told reporters on Tuesday that he'd beat Oprah were she to run on the Democratic ticket in 2020.
Because the "STABLE GENIUS" bill was just introduced, it's not likely to become law anytime soon. And because Republicans maintain control of both the House and the Senate, Republicans in each chamber would have to vote for a bill mocking the current GOP president in order for it ever to pass.