Donald Trump offered strong praise for his Cabinet nominees Thursday afternoon, boasting that the team has “the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled.”
Speaking at a luncheon at the Trump International Hotel shortly after arriving in Washington, D.C., Trump lauded several of his appointees by name, including Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions and United Nations Ambassador-designate Nikki Haley.
“One thing we’ve learned we have by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled,” he said.
Trump’s claim would put his Cabinet’s collective intelligence against other prominent presidential Cabinets, including George Washington’s, which included Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Even Barack Obama’s.
Trump’s praise for his Cabinet’s intelligence stands in contrast to some of their confirmation hearings, in which Trump picks like secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson and secretary of Education pick Betsy DeVos were slammed as unaware or unprepared for their prospective new roles. On Wednesday, a New York Times report claimed that Energy pick Rick Perry didn’t know about the department’s significant nuclear weapons responsibility—although that report has been hotly disputed.
Trump also singled out Rep. Tom Price, his nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, for praise. Price came under fire from Senate Democrats during his confirmation hearing this week amid revelations that the Georgia Republican bought stock in pharmaceutical companies just before introducing and publicly supporting legislation that would help those companies.
“They wanted to end his career so fast,” Trump said. “And then they found out, ‘Man, he’s smart.’ We have a lot of smart people. I tell you what.”
Pres.-elect Donald Trump on his cabinet: "We have by far the highest IQ of any cabinet ever assembled." pic.twitter.com/czBpZ4cNMD
— ABC News (@ABC) January 19, 2017