Donald Trump versus Rex Tillerson: who is the smartest of the bragging silverbacks?
Stephen Hawking and Warren Buffett find some common ground on the IQ question
The Guardian reports tension between Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Thursday: So bad has the braggadocio become that it seems the two silverbacks may be about to go out and settle things the old-fashioned way — (an IQ test) with a pencil and a series of rotated geometric shapes.
In 2004 a New York Times reporter asked theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking what his IQ was: I have no idea. People who boast about their IQ are losers.
Tillerson’s reported allegation that Trump was “a moron” resulted in the President responding to Forbes magazine, Tuesday: I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.
The BBC website posed the question on Wednesday: how often does Trump talk about IQ? Answer: all the time. When Mr Trump recently boasted that his IQ was higher than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s, it was part of a pattern. In 2013, he tweeted that his IQ was “much higher” than Barack Obama and George W. Bush. He has also claimed a higher IQ than com- edian Jon Stewart and British star of The Apprentice Lord (Alan) Sugar. Despite this, Mr Trump has never revealed his own IQ.
News.com.au looked for evidence: A number of intelligence experts have since crunched the data from Mr Trump’s behaviour in an attempt to figure out whether or not the President is actually as smart as he’s claiming. While no president’s IQ has ever been made public, those that have made it into Phi Beta Kappa, one of America’s most exclusive fraternities, is public. The group inducts “the best and brightest undergraduates … with Bill Clinton, George HW Bush and Jimmy Carter being members”.
Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia, told the BBC Trump’s confidence hints at a high IQ: If he ever releases his IQ, I just have a feeling — especially since he is daring Tillerson to release his — that it’s higher than people would presume. People who don’t like him say “oh he’s such an idiot, oh he’s so stupid”. But I bet you it’s higher than we might realise.
Trump’s attendance at the University of Pennsylvania’s school of business also hints he could be quite intelligent. The BBC recalls his campaign comments in 2015: I went to the Wharton School of business. I’m, like, a really smart person.
Frank Lawlis, psychologist for American Mensa, told the BBC testing was not definitive: If you take someone we consider to be a genius like Einstein, he would probably not do well on an IQ test because he thinks outside the box.
Eager to deflect attention from the Harvey Weinstein scandal, The Hollywood Reporter quotes Ameri- can ABC late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Wednesday: I’m not sure if Donald Trump could finish the maze on the back of a Denny’s kids’ menu.
US network CBS reports that there is betting interest, Wednesday: Bovada Sportsbook has released a series of politically themed betting lines that include the commander-inchief’s claim that he would score higher on an IQ test than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Currently, Tillerson is slightly favoured over President Trump (even money).
CNBC reports billionaire Warren Buffett’s opinion, Wednesday: You don’t need to be a rocket scientist. Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with a 130 IQ. Rationality is essential. You don’t need a lot of brains to be in this business … you need to be able to think independently.