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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/7/18

Seriously, How Dumb is Trump?

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From Robert Reich Blog


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For more than a year now, I've been hearing from people in the inner circles of official Washington -- GOP lobbyists, Republican pundits, even a few Republican members of Congress -- that Donald Trump is remarkably stupid.

I figured they couldn't be right because really stupid people don't become presidents of the United States. Even George W. Bush was smart enough to hire smart people to run his campaign and then his White House.

Several months back when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a "f--king moron," I discounted it. I know firsthand how frustrating it can be to serve in a president's cabinet, and I've heard members of other president's cabinets describe their bosses in similar terms.

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Now comes "Fire and Fury," a book by journalist Michael Wolff, who interviewed more than 200 people who dealt with Trump as a candidate and president, including senior White House staff members.

In it, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster calls Trump a "dope." Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus both refer to him as an "idiot." Rupert Murdoch says Trump is a "f--king idiot."

Trump's chief economic adviser Gary Cohn describes Trump as "dumb as sh-t," explaining that "Trump won't read anything -- not one-page memos, not the brief policy papers; nothing. He gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored."

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When one of Trump's campaign aides tried to educate him about the Constitution, Trump couldn't focus. "I got as far as the Fourth Amendment," the aide recalled, "before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are rolling back in his head."

Trump doesn't think he's stupid, of course. As he recounted, "I went to an Ivy League college ... I did very well. I'm a very intelligent person."

Yet Trump wasn't exactly an academic star. One of his professors at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and Finance purportedly said that he was "the dumbest goddamn student I ever had."

Trump biographer Gwenda Blair wrote in 2001 that Trump was admitted to Wharton on a special favor from a "friendly" admissions officer who had known Trump's older brother.

But hold on. It would be dangerous to underestimate this man.

Even if Trump doesn't read, can't follow a logical argument, and has the attention span of a fruit fly, it still doesn't follow that he's stupid.

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There's another form of intelligence, called "emotional intelligence."

Emotional intelligence is a concept developed by two psychologists, John Mayer of the University of New Hampshire, and Yale's Peter Salovey, and it was popularized by Dan Goleman in his 1996 book of the same name.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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