Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Sunday called for term limits and mental competency tests in Congress, arguing that “we need people at the top of their game” after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s latest episode of freezing up in public.
Haley, a former U.S. ambassador and governor of South Carolina, said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that aging members of Congress need to understand when “it’s time to step away,” after McConnell froze for more than 30 seconds while fielding questions from reporters in Covington, Kentucky, on Wednesday.
“Here you have Mitch McConnell, who’s done great service to the country,” Haley said. “You have Dianne Feinstein who had a great career. You’ve got Nancy Pelosi who’d been there a long time – at what point do they get it’s time to leave?”
“This is not just a Republican or Democrat problem, this is a congressional problem, and they’ve got to know when to leave,” she said. “It’s time to pass this down to a new generation of conservative leaders that want to take our country to a better place.
“We need people at the top of their game,” she continued. “We have too many issues on the table that need to be dealt with. We can’t continue to have these people who think they know better than the American people.”
While Haley has previously supported mental competency tests for politicians aged 75 and older, she said Sunday that she would support them across the board as a requirement to run for office.
“When a candidate files to run for office, incumbent or a newcomer, they have to give their financial disclosures,” she said. “They should also give a notice from the doctor that tells about their mental capacity. I think that we need that.”
“Our enemies are watching all of this, and every time they have an instance like that, America is less safe, because our enemies think we’re out of control, and that’s got to stop,” she added.
Haley, who is currently polling fourth in the crowded 2024 GOP primary, came under fire last week after she mocked the U.S. Senate as a “nursing home” when asked about McConnell’s episode.
“It’s sad,” she told Fox News. “No one should feel good about seeing that any more than we should feel good about seeing Dianne Feinstein, any more than we should feel good about a lot of what’s happening or seeing Joe Biden’s decline.
“What I will say is, right now, the Senate is the most privileged nursing home in the country,” she said. “I mean, Mitch McConnell has done some great things and he deserves credit. But you have to know when to leave.”
McConnell has been cleared to resume his “schedule as planned” after the instance on Wednesday.
“I have consulted with Leader McConnell and conferred with his neurology team. After evaluating yesterday’s incident, I have informed Leader McConnell that he is medically clear to continue with his schedule as planned,” Dr. Brian Monahan, Congress’ attending physician, wrote in a note Thursday.
The long-standing GOP lawmaker previously froze for about 30 seconds during a news conference alongside other Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., a month ago.
McConnell’s office did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request Sunday for a response to Haley’s criticism.
Fox News’ Timothy Nerozzi contributed to this report.