Trump Says He’s a Genius — Here Are the Past Presidents Who Can Actually Claim That Title

The release of the book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House revealed some shocking secrets has about the President, some of which indicated he’s not very smart. No one more angered by this than Trump himself, who tweeted:

“Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top TV star …  to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius …. and a very stable genius at that!”

The proof is in the … tweet?

Donald Trump meeting with the press at the white house.

Is he really the genius he claims to be? | Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

While Trump has repeatedly challenged others to take IQ tests, he has been less enthusiastic about providing evidence to back up his claims. And while there’s no law that states a president has to provide proof of intelligence, there have been some past presidents who have actually been proven to be geniuses.

Next: Define ‘genius’

What is a genius?

An exam with a pencil.

How can we figure out for sure who is a genius? |

The definition of  genius is “ a person endowed with extraordinary mental superiority; especially a person with a very high IQ.” Since IQ tests tend to be fairly accurate measures of intelligence, that’s typically what people investigate when someone claims to be a “genius.”

Next: Has Trump taken the test?

What is Trump’s IQ?

Donald Trump in a white shirt, red tie and black suit.

How can we find out? | Mario Tama/Getty Images

Despite the POUTUS’ claims, there has been no evidence released that he’s taken an IQ test. During the 2016 campaign, a meme circulated social media sites, showing that Trump was listed as the second smartest presidential candidate. However, that was proven to be fake news, when Snopes traced the meme to an article on a bogus site that claimed to have calculated Trump’s IQ of 156 based on his college acceptance standards. Among several “logical missteps and factual inaccuracies,” Snopes wrote, the article didn’t even name Trump’s school correctly.

If Trump has taken IQ tests, he’s keeping the results to himself. However, these past presidents’ scores have revealed them to be proven geniuses.

Next: Who measured the results? 

How the results were calculated

A sketch of a brain.

Results never lie. | Jezperklauzen/Getty Images

Modern day IQ tests haven’t always been available, so it can be challenging the determine the intelligence levels of early presidents. In 2006, University of California at Davis psychology professor Dean Simonton completed a comprehensive study examining the “intellectual brilliance” of 42 US presidents. These were his top 10.

Next: Our second President is first on the list. 

John Adams

President John Adams in a painting.

John Adams had an impressive IQ. | Wikimedia Commons

John Adams was the second president, serving from 1797 – 1801. According to estimations, he had an IQ of 173. Adams studied law at Harvard and was an early supporter of the movement for the US independence movement from the British.

Next: It’s no surprise that this Founding Father is on the list.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson in a painting.

Jefferson went to some amazing schools. | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Our third president (1801 – 1809) comes in second on the list, with an IQ of 160, according to estimates (present day IQ tests were not available during this time). Jefferson graduated from the College of William and Mary before going on to study law.

Next: This American icon had a very high IQ.

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy during a speech.

John F. Kennedy went to Harvard. | National Archive/Newsmakers

John F. Kennedy served less than three years of his term before he was assassinated in 1963. As a Harvard graduate, he had an IQ of 158, and he also served in World War II in the Navy before becoming our POTUS.

Next: The “kid from Arkansas” had some impressive credentials.

Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton giving his inaugural address.

Bill Clinton was granted a prestigious scholarship. | Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Bill Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar, a recipient of the very prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. He has an IQ of 156 and a law degree from Yale.

Next: This president was hailed as one of the fathers of the Constitution.

James Madison

James Madison portrait.

James Madison has some big brains. | The White House Historical Association

James Madison makes the list with an IQ of 155, according to Simonton’s estimates. He graduated from what is now Princeton University in 1771, going on to study law before collaborating with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to produce the Federalist Papers in 1788.

Next: This POTUS won a Nobel Peace Prize.

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter in front of a microphone.

Jimmy Carter scored amazing test scores. | Jessica McGowan/Stringer/Getty Images

Jimmy Carter was our 39th president, serving from 1977 – 1981. He has an estimated IQ of 153 and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1946.

Next: Or 28th president was the leader of the Progressive Movement.

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson sitting at a desk.

Woodrow Wilson was intelligent and an excellent writer. | Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Woodrow Wilson had an estimated IQ of 152, and he had an impressive title before becoming our president: He was the President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910. He’s best remembered for his speech, “Fourteen Points,” which was presented to Congress at the end of World War I.

Next: This president was the youngest man in history to claim the title.

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt writing at a desk.

Theodore Roosevelt was a bit of a smarty. | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Our 26th president was also our youngest — Teddy Roosevelt was only 43 when he was sworn into office. He had an estimated IQ of 149, and he’s best known for his motto, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Next: This president didn’t even make it a full year before he was assassinated.

James Garfield

James Abram Garfield in a painting.

James Garfield made smart decisions. | Edward Gooch/Getty Images

James Garfield was a graduate of Williams College, and according to Simonton’s estimates, his IQ was about 148. He was assassinated only 200 days after taking office, and it’s a shame, because he made a big impact during his short term.

Next: This president focused mainly on overhauling the civil service. 

Chester Arthur

Chester Arthur in a painting.

Chester Arthur scored well. | National Archives/Handout/ Getty Images

Chester Arthur seceded James Garfield, becoming our 21st president after Garfield’s assassination. He had an IQ of 148, according to Simonton’s estimates, and he graduated from Union College in 1848 and practiced law in New York City before being elected vice president.

Next: Beware of hoaxes and false information.

The great Presidential IQ hoax of 2001

George W. Bush in front of the press.

George W. Bush’s test scores were fabricated in a viral email. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Trump is far from the first person to make potentially false claims about presidential intelligence. In 2001, an email began circulation that showed Bill Clinton as having the highest IQ (182) and George W. Bush the lowest (91). However, the numbers in the email were said to be fabricated, and both the sociologists and institutions listed in the email do not exist. There were several other factual errors in the email as well, so the hoax was eventually debunked.

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