"Americans have a right to know whether an individual has the physical and mental fitness to serve as president of the United States."
“The judgment of history will not be kind to those who know better but will not speak out,” Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) said of White House staffers who refuse to speak out about Donald Trump’s fitness for office.
In an exclusive interview with Shareblue Media, Boyle spoke frankly about his concerns regarding Trump’s fitness for office, as well as new legislation he introduced that would give all voters more information about presidential candidates in the future.
On Friday, Trump will undergo his first physical as president. But that examination is not expected to include anything about his mental fitness a question of growing concern on Capitol Hill and across the country. In fact, a new poll finds that 55 percent of Americans now believe his mental fitness is a legitimate issue.
For Boyle, Trump’s fitness to serve as president has been a concern since the 2016 campaign.
“It was pretty obvious throughout campaign that he conducted himself in such a way that would raise questions,” he said.
Boyle was especially concerned that the only information voters had about Trump’s fitness before Election Day was from “this crackpot doctor” who declared that “Trump would be the most physically fit person ever to hold the office.”
It was later revealed that Trump’s doctor wrote that letter in the span of five minutes while Trump’s limo waited outside his office. The four-paragraph letter, complete with typos, was the only medical information that the Trump campaign released throughout the entire campaign.
When Trump took office, nothing happened to ease Boyle’s worries.
“Going on to Twitter and boasting that his nuclear button is bigger than Kim Jung Un’s? That is dangerous behavior,” Boyle said, referring to Trump’s reckless tweet from early January.
The silence from those interacting with Trump every day was unacceptable to Boyle.
“They have a patriotic duty to speak out if there is something they see that alarms them,” Boyle said. “It is remarkable to me that we have not seen more people speak out publicly.”
But the breaking point was when Trump insisted that he is, “like, really smart,” and a “very stable genius.”
Boyle respectfully disagreed.
Determined to take action, Boyle made headlines when he released the Standardizing Testing and Accountability Before Large Elections Giving Electors Necessary Information for Unobstructed Selection Act or STABLE GENUIS Act for short.
The bill would require that all candidates for president of the United States undergo a physical and mental fitness exam by Naval doctors, and make the overall results public.
“Let’s just make sure voters have all pertinent info at their disposal when they decide who sits in the Oval Office and has the ability to launch a nuclear war,” Boyle said.
Boyle was adamant that, despite the tongue-in-cheek name, this legislation is a serious attempt to fix “a major flaw in our current system.”
While Trump was the impetus for this bill, Boyle added, it is not just about him.
“Whatever one thinks of this current president, this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed for future presidents,” he said.
While House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is unlikely to consider the STABLE GENIUS Act, Boyle has plans for 2018 and beyond.
“We should have a package of bills related to presidential election reform. Part of the package would be [requiring candidates to release] tax returns. A second part would be a full health screening by the Naval doctors charged with caring for presidents,” Boyle said, going on to note several other topics that could be included, such as ballot protections and voting rights measures.
The reaction among Democratic colleagues has been “overwhelmingly positive,” Boyle said. While much of the praise is related to the clever title of the bill, even Republicans have congratulated Boyle on a creative way to bring attention to an important issue.
While no Republicans have signed on to the bill, Boyle has had positive conversations with a few of his colleagues from across the aisle. He doesn’t hold out hope that the bill will pass under Republican leadership, but if Democrats retake the House in 2018, he predicts that some Republicans would support the measure down the road.
More than anything, Boyle hopes that his efforts will help ensure that Americans have what they need to make informed decisions about the 2020 election and beyond.
“The voting public has no idea about the mental or physical fitness of candidates,” Boyle said. “This bill is a reasonable measure to make sure the public is protected.”