President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout MORE offered resounding praise for his Cabinet nominees Thursday, boasting that the team has “the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled.”

 

Speaking at a luncheon at the Trump International Hotel shortly after arriving in Washington, D.C., Trump lauded several of his appointees by name, including attorney general nominee Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Manchin flexes muscle in 50-50 Senate Udalls: Haaland criticism motivated 'by something other than her record' MORE and United Nations Ambassador-designate Nikki Haley.

 

"One thing we've learned we have by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled,” he said.

 

Trump's claim would put his Cabinet's collective intelligence against other prominent presidential Cabinets, including George Washington's, which included Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. 

 

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Trump's praise for his Cabinet's intelligence stands in contrast to some of their confirmation hearings, in which Trump picks like secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson and secretary of Education pick Betsy DeVos were slammed as unaware or unprepared for their prospective new roles. On Wednesday, a New York Times report claimed that Energy pick Rick Perry didn't know about the department's significant nuclear weapons responsibility — although that report has been hotly disputed.

Trump also singled out Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), his nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, for praise. Price came under fire from Senate Democrats during his confirmation hearing this week amid revelations that the Georgia Republican bought stock in pharmaceutical companies just before introducing and publicly supporting legislation that would help those companies.

“They wanted to end his career so fast,” Trump said. “And then they found out, 'Man, he's smart.' We have a lot of smart people. I tell you what.”