Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Donald Trump has many serious flaws, including incorrigible dishonesty, rampant narcissism, contempt for women and a fashion sense that makes him think that hairstyle is flattering. But nothing compares to his most prominent, crippling and incurable defect: He’s dimmer than a 5-watt bulb.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was reported to have called the president a “moron” — emphasizing that term with an emphatic adjective I can’t repeat here. Forced to hold a news conference to praise the president’s intelligence, Tillerson was too honest to deny what he had said.

The late William T. Kelley, who taught Trump at the University of Pennsylvania, said, “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.” Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter of “The Art of the Deal,” says Trump had “a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.”

Trump’s feeble-mindedness is on daily view. When an Uzbek immigrant was arrested for allegedly driving a truck down a Manhattan bike path, killing eight people, the president responded in thunderously stupid ways. First, he tweeted that he had “just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program.” If you can step it up, why didn’t you do that before?

He fumed that the alleged killer wanted an Islamic State flag for his hospital room. Really? The guy reportedly killed eight people, and the flag is what steams you? Trump demanded the death penalty — opening the way for the suspect’s lawyers to argue that the president has made it impossible for him to get a fair trial.

Trump has learned nothing from his past blunders. As a candidate, he said Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was a traitor who should be executed. Asked about the case as president, he doubled down: “I think people have heard my comments in the past.”

The military judge announced he would count Trump’s statement as “mitigation evidence,” which may be why he ended up giving Bergdahl no prison time. Not only was Trump’s remark unnecessary and inappropriate; it was self-defeating.

He’s just not bright enough to make connections between his conduct and its consequences. Trump’s travel ban has lost repeatedly in court because he has made clear that he has an unconstitutional goal: shutting out Muslims because of their religion. If he had kept quiet, he might have gotten his way.

The evidence of his dimwittedness flows as continuously and voluminously as the Mississippi River. His tweets are studded with misspellings, random capitalizations and mystifying quotation marks.

He taps out tweets that flagrantly contradict what he tweeted when Barack Obama was president, making himself look ridiculous. When he holds forth on policy issues, it’s excruciatingly apparent he has no idea what he’s talking about.

Trump relies on a vocabulary the size of a fourth-grader’s. To combat opioid abuse among teens, he favors “telling them, ‘No good, really bad for you in every way.'” Those paper towels he tossed to a crowd in Puerto Rico were “very good towels.” He wanted to call the tax reform bill “the Cut Cut Cut Act.”

He pretends to be a master negotiator, but he has failed to get the Republican Congress to repeal Obamacare, enact protections for immigrants brought here illegally as children, and fund his border wall.

Trump tries to conceal his intellectual deficiency by insisting how smart he is. “I went to an Ivy League college,” he said last month. “I’m a very intelligent person.” He has to make such affirmations because all the evidence indicates his cranium contains an airless void.

I don’t mean to suggest his supporters are dumb. There are plenty of intelligent people who voted for him and plenty of stupid ones who didn’t. But the smart Trump supporters don’t hold his intellect in awe.

After Tillerson’s “moron” comment was reported, Trump said, “I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”

I’m sure plenty of readers are now saying I’m the stupid one, with a brain far inferior to Trump’s. They may be right. So I put a challenge to him: We both take an IQ test, administered by an independent body, with the results to be made public.

This is a great chance to dazzle the world with his peerless mind. It’s a chance for him to humiliate someone in the “fake news media” with his towering intellect.

But I’m betting Trump will never submit to any process that would document his actual intelligence for the public to see. He’s dumb. But not that dumb.

Steve Chapman blogs at Follow him on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at To find out more about Steve Chapman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at


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22 responses to “Trump’s Biggest Flaw: He’s Dumb”

  1. Dominick Vila says:

    Trump is definitely not as intelligent as he thinks he is. We don’t have to go any further than his most recent comments about the value of his friendship with Abe and Xi, and how that augurs trade deals favorable to the USA, and effective cooperation on the part of those leaders to solve the North Korean crisis to Trump’s satisfaction. His conclusion is as naive as his immature and vindictive tendencies. Xi, Abe, and all other foreign leaders will do what is best for their countries. Trump will be well advised not to confuse polite diplomacy and decorum with concessions or cooperation. IMHO, Trump’s greatest flaws are his malignant narcissism, vindictiveness, immaturity, egocentric tendencies, ignorance of relevant matters, his unwillingness to familiarize himself with issues of great importance to to the USA and the world, his tendency to repeat the last thing he heard, his willingness to surround himself with people as unqualified as he is, and his overt dislike of people of color and people from other cultures. Perhaps not surprisingly, one third of Americans love him precisely because of all the negatives that comprise the absence of human values and feelings in Trump’s tiny brain and heart.

  2. dbtheonly says:

    You missed Trump’s “Muslim Ban”. You can’t discriminate in immigration over religion. So while Trump’s lawyers were trying to sell the action as a security measure, Trump’s out there talking about his “Muslim Ban”. He sank himself in court. “Muslim Ban 2.0” didn’t fare any better.

    Dom, PM Abe is playing Trump like one of the carp Trump overfed. The good news is that PM Abe can probably do a better job of things than Trump so, I’m not too worried.

    Trump’s obliviousness really is funny.

  3. ORAXX says:

    Even worse than his dangerous ignorance and lack of intelligence, is the fact Trump has convinced himself he’s the smartest man in any room and doesn’t need anyone’s advice on anything. Had Trump been dealt Barack Obama’s hand in life, the world would have never heard of Donald Trump.

    • bobnstuff says:

      You might have heard of him, in fact you might have bought a used car from him.

      • idamag says:

        I can’t picture him selling used cars. He is not smart enough to do the paperwork and salesman try to make you feel important. When have you ever been approached by a car salesman, saying, “I am the smartest man on this lot and I have the prettiest wife?”

        • I of John says:

          He is the kind of guy that would con somebody to do his paperwork though and if there was something wrong, he would blame the other guy.

    • docb says:

      Bingo…..the best truth yet.

  4. FireBaron says:

    Back in the 80s, when I was stationed as a US Navy Recruiter, if someone with Teflon Donnie’s intellectual capacity came into my recruiting office, I would have thanked him for his interest, given him a bumper sticker and told him to keep us in mind if that car washing or dish washing job didn’t work out.

  5. TZToronto says:

    One thing that demonstrates Trump’s lack of intelligence is his claim that he graduated at the top of his class at Wharton. I found the Commencement program from Trump’s UPenn graduation, and it lists those people who graduated with honors. Donald J. Trump is listed in the program, but he’s not in the list of those receiving honors. The fact that he did not graduate with honors is not what shows his lack of intelligence. The fact that he makes claims that are easily debunked indicates that he has no idea of what to reveal and what not to reveal, that he has little sense. This also extends to his claim that he’s a great deal-maker. A great deal-maker doesn’t make statements that can be easily disproved and doesn’t put himself in a position where he can be called on his hypocrisy. The Great IQ Challenge Trump suggested vis-a-vis Tillerson was simply dumb because he could have put himself in a position that would have shown him as one who lacks the intellect to be a can stacker at the local supermarket.

    • Theodora30 says:

      Actually Trump has learned from long experience that boldly lying works so it is not a dumb strategy. Not that he is not dumb and ignorant but I think hish deepest flaw is his malignant narcissism. I have known people who are not too bright and a lot of them know it and are humble enough that they don’t pretend to know everything.
      As for Trump going to Penn’s Wharton School (undergraduate) why did he start at Fordham is he is so smart? At the time he went there Fordham was not difficult to get into because the neighborhood surrounding it had gotten so dangerous. If Trump had had either the grades or SAT scores he would have gone somewhere else. He only got into Penn after his older brother pulled strings with a friend on the board. There is absolutely no evidence that Trump was ever a good student. Too bad somebody doesn’t hack his high school records. It should contain his grades, IQ score, and SAT scores. I would bet all are average or below.

  6. Dapper Dan says:

    Is it just becoming common knowledge that trump is a grade A idiot ?

    • idamag says:

      My five-year-old grandson asked me, once, “Do you know who Harriett Tubman was?” I did and we proceeded to discuss Harriett Tubman. I think this establishes they were being way too kind when they said trump had the language skills of a fifth grader.

      • Dapper Dan says:

        And unfortunately at least his 2 sons Don Jr and Eric are just as dim as their father. Ivanka strikes me as having more in her head than her brothers probably takes after her Mom. It appears that stupidity and ignorance is strong among trump males. Hopefully his 11 yo son Barron might be the exception

  7. idamag says:

    That dazzling brilliance I just witnessed was not trump. I stood up under a low pipe in the basement. It is so obvious to the intelligent people, that he is the antithesis of smart.

  8. Excellent article, and one that should have certain phrases excerpted and posted on billboards as a reminder to those who thought, and still do, that Donald is the cat’s meow. Donald needs to be reminded, as does the GOP contingent, that he never was as smart as he boasts he is. As he gets older, he gets even worse upstairs, but what is far more dangerous than lack of mental acuity in the Oval Office is a lack of decency, courtesy, and a lack of self-restraint.
    The latter is why Bergdahl avoided prison time, why Kim Jong Un feels obliged to rush head-first towards ignited a conflict with global consequences, and why a widow had to suffer additional pain unnecessarily because a boorish wannabe President didn’t have the ability to make a routine call of condolences without adding salt to her wound.

    And yet, Congress pretends that everything is OK with this hulk.

  9. docb says:

    Thank you for verifying what many have known for some years…Well written.

  10. Eleanore Whitaker says:

    Honestly, why anyone would think Trump is nothing more than what GHWB called him, “a blowhard” and what former NY City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Trump, “A Con artist and a cheat,” is amazing.

    He isn’t even really a successful businessman so much as a fast talking salesman who can steal your appendix without unbuttoning your shirt.

    Now, every day he opens that big mouth, he proves it. Either by way of his inability to understand that a government cannot be comprised only of Trump supporters on our tax dollars or that there are 3 separate and equal branches of government of which he is only ONE part.

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