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 Weekend Australian - - COMMENTARY -

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. 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.

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