On Thursday, Trump spoke at a congressional leadership luncheon inside his Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, just off the route where his inauguration parade will pass on Friday.
Trump started off by complimenting the setting, asking, “Where is this? This is a gorgeous room. A total genius must have built this.”
Scanning the room, Trump picked out several of his cabinet members, including attorney general nominee Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), who Trump said had done “amazingly well” in his confirmation hearing.
Trump also singled out New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, who he said will be “going to St. James,” indicating Johnson will be the next ambassador to the United Kingdom. Johnson was a likely pick for Trump, but a formal announcement has yet to be made.
Trump noted a few people who were not in attendance, including his treasury secretary nominee, Steven Mnuchin, who Trump joked was in the Senate “getting grilled.”
He also mentioned House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), who Trump joked was “out writing legislation because he's got so much legislation to write. He's never had this.”
“And he’s actually got somebody that’s going to sign it," Trump said to rounding applause. “I’m starting to really, really love Paul.”
The president-elect took a moment to compliment all of his cabinet nominees, saying, “We have a lot of smart people. I tell you what. One thing we've learned we have by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled.”
Trump then pointed out his education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos, and talked about the education problems in America.
While there is no way of immediately verifying Trump’s claims about his cabinet’s IQ, what’s evident is that his fledgling cabinet is less educated than the outgoing one.
President Barack Obama’s current secretary of education, John King, Jr., has degrees from Harvard, Columbia, and Yale. DeVos has a bachelor’s degree from Calvin College.
Obama’s first secretary of energy, Steven Chu, was a Nobel Prize winning physicist, and his successor, Ernest Moniz, was the head of the physics department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Trump’s energy secretary nominee, Rick Perry, failed his college chemistry class.
Trump will also be the first president in 25 years not to have a graduate degree of any kind.