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All the ways Trump’s closest confidants insult his intelligence

Reuters/Carlos Barria
"He's not only crazy, he's stupid."
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

John Kelly may not have joined the elite club of former White House chiefs of staff yet, but this week he joined another exclusive group: Donald Trump’s close confidantes who reportedly insult him behind his back.

Trump’s known for his insults—on Twitter alone, the president had insulted 446 people, places, and things as of April 30—but he gets his share, too. Not just from political adversaries, but from employees, friends, and allies, if news reports detailing discontent in Trump’s inner circle are to be believed. Quartz took a look at the most prominent examples:

  • “A supreme sexist.”—Barbara Res, former executive vice-president of Trump Organization, who also said “he thinks he’s God.”
  • “Like an 11-year-old child”— Steve Bannon. The now estranged advisor also allegedly complained that he was “sick of being a wet nurse to a 71-year-old man.”
  • Working with Trump is “like trying to figure out what a child wants”—White House deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh
  • “The White House has become an adult day care center”—Republican senator Bob Corker of Tennessee
  • “Morally unfit to be president,” “unethical” and “untethered to truth”—former FBI director James Comey, who also compared the US president to a mafia boss.
  • “Less a person than a collection of terrible traits”—Trump’s former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn.
  • Someone who “sucks up and shits down”—former Fox News chief and confidant Roger Ailes.

But Trump’s intelligence has been far and away the most popular target for his sometime allies.

NameRole at timeInsultOccasion
Rex TillersonSecretary of Statea fucking moronPentagon meeting
Gary CohnEconomic advisordumb as shitEmail circulating within the White House
H R McMasterNational security advisora dopePrivate dinner
Tom BarrackFriend and supporternot only crazy, […] stupidConversation with friend
Gary CohnEconomic advisorless a person than a collection of terrible traitsEmail circulating within the White House
Gary CohnEconomic advisoran idiot surrounded by clownsEmail circulating within the White House
H R McMasterNational security advisor“An idiot [with the intelligence of] a kindergartener”Private dinner
John KellyChief of staffan idiotConversation with Trump
Sam NunbergAdviserhe’s an idiotLive TV
Sam NunbergAdviserthis idiotCampaign conversation
Steve MnuchinSecretary of Treasuryan idiotUnspecified
Reince PreibusChief of staffan idiotUnspecified

On the upside for Trump, his antagonist of the hour James Comey has said that the president strikes him as “a person of above average intelligence.”

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