“You can take the smartest kid at Wharton, the one who gets straight As and has a 170 IQ,” Trump wrote with his co-author in 2009, “and if he doesn’t have the instincts, he’ll never be a successful entrepreneur.”
“Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day.” - Samuel Goldwyn— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2013
A few years later, Trump challenged his secretary of state to an IQ test. He has claimed on Twitter to test “much higher” than Obama, who Simonton said is “obviously far more intelligent,” or George W. Bush.
If the 2006 study is correct, beating Bush might not be much of an achievement.
“Ever since George W. Bush was elected to the presidency, questions have emerged about his general intelligence,” Simonton wrote, noting the president’s infamous tied tongue. Rest assured, the psychologist concluded, “Bush is definitely intelligent.”
But not as smart as nearly every other president.
With an estimated IQ between 111 and 139, Bush was fourth-lowest on the list. He ranked just above Warren G. Harding, James Monroe and the much-maligned Ulysses S. Grant, who came in dead last with an IQ no higher than 130.
It wasn’t that Bush was necessarily dumber, Simonton explained, but he scored particularly badly on one of his metrics: curiosity.
“Despite being the scion of an elite family with worldwide connections, Bush’s hobbies appear limited to not much more than running, fishing, and baseball,” the psychologist wrote, quoting from a news article. “It would seem that the younger Bush does not make the impression of having wide interests or of being especially artistic, curious, sophisticated, complicated, and insightful,” he added.
We note that Bush has since taken up painting. Maybe it’s time for a retest.
Let’s take a quick look at which presidents Simonton labeled as the smartest and the dumbest, and how well Trump compares.
The smartest US presidents
|James Garfield||20th president of the United States||Party: Republican||Estimated IQ: 141.5|
|Theodore Roosevelt||26th president of the United States||Party: Republican||Estimated IQ: 142.275|
|John Adams||2nd president of the United States||Party: Federalist||Estimated IQ: 142.5|
|Jimmy Carter||39th president of the United States||Party: Democrat||Estimated IQ: 145.1|
|Woodrow Wilson||28th president of the United States||Party: Democratic||Estimated IQ: 145.1|
|Bill Clinton||42nd president of the United States||Party: Democratic||Estimated IQ: 148.8|
|John F. Kennedy||35th president of the United States||Party: Democratic||Estimated IQ: 150.65|
|Thomas Jefferson||3rd president of the United States||Party: Democratic-Republican||Estimated IQ: 153.75|
|John Quincy Adams||6th president of the United States||Party: Democratic-Republican||Estimated IQ: 168.75|