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Kamloops News

THOMPSON: I’m smarter than Donald J. Trump

September 25, 2017 - 12:00 PM



I’ve been in the right places at the right times to meet a number of world leaders over the years…seven U.S. presidents, two chancellors of Germany, presidents of Mexico and France, a prime minister of Japan, a governor of Puerto Rico, a governor-general of Jamaica, a prime minister of Sweden…and perhaps a few others.

For the most part, I came away impressed with the intelligence, poise and character of this diverse group of leaders. I say, for the most part, because some stood out as exceptional…Presidents Obama and Clinton, Chancellor Kohl…and some were slightly lesser lights but smart people nonetheless.

Few made me walk away shaking my head and saying, “I’m smarter than this guy.” Okay, possibly, George W. Bush. And what he might lack in raw intelligence…he probably makes up for in heart and compassion…two other really important traits for world leaders.

All said, there’s one thing of which I have no doubt…I’m smarter than Donald J. Trump. I’m so confident that the current president can’t measure up, I hereby challenge him to a series of intelligence tests.

I bet I can best him in the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, 4th Edition, the most popular measure of attention, general knowledge, visual organization and comprehension. After that, I believe I can beat him in the Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Test Battery, the go-to measure of memory, attention and concentration, language ability, motor skills, auditory skill and planning.

Mr. President, I know where I stand on these tests…I’ve taken them…and my scores are, well, pretty good. I suggest you start studying if you decide to accept this challenge. Even with study, you’ll be bringing a knife to a gunfight. You, sir, are that woefully unprepared.

This reality doesn’t in any way make me feel good. Indeed, in a declaration that resembles a Trump Tweet, I can only say, “Sad.” You see, I really want the leader of the free world - the President of the United States and the Commander-in-Chief of the world’s most powerful military - to be much smarter than me. He’s not smarter than me…when I was 12!

He can’t even talk about how smart he is…and sound smart. I offer the following examples…verbatim quotes from various speeches during the past couple years:

On Feb. 8, he told the National Sheriffs’ Association: “I was a good student. I comprehend very well, okay, better than I think almost anybody.”

On Jan. 27, he told the people at the Central Intelligence Agency: “Now, I know a lot about West Point. I’m a person that very strongly believes in academics. Like every time I say I had an uncle who was a great professor at MIT for 35 years who did a fantastic job in so many different ways, academically — he was an academic genius — and then they say, is Donald Trump an intellectual? Trust me, I’m like a smart person.”

On July 21, 2016, in South Carolina - and being a wordsmith I love this one - an almost perfect stream-of-consciousness non-sequitur: “Look, having nuclear - my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, okay, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart - you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a Liberal, if, like, okay, if I ran as a Liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world - it’s true! - but when you’re a conservative Republican then try - oh, do they do a number - that’s why I always start off; went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune - you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged…”

By the way, the Liar-In-Chief would have you believe he matriculated at The Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate school of business. He did not…he attended the University of Pennsylvania only two years, taking undergraduate business courses offered through The Wharton School to any university student.

I could go on and on, but you readers are smart…you get it. Anyway, the point of all this is that I’m betting that Donald J. Trump loses to me in the aforementioned battery of tests. Let’s say - to make it interesting - if he loses this challenge he has to donate $1,000 US in my name to one of my favourite charities…The Rotary Foundation. If I lose - this is hard to write with a straight face - I’ll pay $1,000 (Canadian because he probably doesn’t know there’s a difference) to his favourite charity…which historically has been Donald J. Trump.

Now, what does my winning prove. Well, not much. I already know the outcome so it’s weak confirmation at best. However, it will prove than Americans need to be smarter when they next go to the polls.

I assume the president might hear about this challenge from someone who reads within the week. And maybe, if CNN or MSNBC picks it up…he watches them…he’ll see and hear it. He doesn’t like them…but he watches.

Regardless, I look forward to his response. I’m guessing it might one of his favourite retorts, “We’ll wait and see.” Then, maybe he’ll try and bully…because, well, that’s what he does. Then, he’ll probably lie and say he’s smarter than me…offering no proof or facts…and unwilling to accept the challenge, of course. Again, that’s what he does.

Then, again, he could simply ignore me. You see, that’s what he’s done with most Americans since becoming president.

– Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines.  His essays are a blend of news reporting and opinion.

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