Cabinet Ballers: Team Trump vs. Team Obama

President Trump says his Cabinet has the highest IQ ever. So how does it stack up against Obama’s administration?

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

“We have by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever,” Donald Trump has said.

We at The Daily Beast can neither confirm nor deny that assertion—and of course, President Trump can’t either. But now that the Trump Cabinet is (finally) in place, we can compare its résumés with those of its predecessors in the Obama administration. How do they stack up? Here’s a sampling of five—you be the judge.

Department of State

John KerryB.A. Yale University

Advanced degrees: J.D., Boston College Law School

Served in Vietnam, awarded Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and three Purple Heart Medals.

Expertise: 29 years in U.S. Senate, serving on Foreign Relations Committee

Rex TillersonB.A., University of Texas

Advanced degrees: None

Expertise: No diplomatic or government experience. While CEO of ExxonMobil, awarded Order of Friendship by Vladimir Putin.


Department of Energy

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Rick PerryB.S., Texas A&M University, 2.5 GPA

Advanced degrees: None

Expertise: None. Had recommended the department be eliminated, until he learned what it did.

Ernest MonizB.S., Boston College, Summa Cum Laude

Advanced degrees: Ph.D. in theoretical physics, Stanford University

Expertise: Professor of physics and engineering at MIT for over 25 years. Fellow, American Academy of Arts & Sciences.


Environmental Protection Agency

Gina McCarthyB.A., University of Massachusetts Boston

Advanced degrees: M.S. in Environmental Health & Engineering, Tufts University

Expertise: 20 years of state environmental jobs prior to EPA

Scott PruittB.A., Georgetown College in Kentucky

Advanced degrees: J.D., University of Tulsa.

Expertise: None. As an Oklahoma attorney general (with no science background), Pruitt sued the EPA many times, cut and pasted industry positions as his own, and denied the unanimous expert scientific consensus on climate change.


Department of Education

John King Jr.B.A., Harvard University

Advanced degrees: J.D., Yale Law School. Ed.D. (“Doctor of Education”), Columbia.

Expertise: Former commissioner of education of New York, also taught for three years and founded a school.

Betsy DeVosB.A., Calvin College (a Christian religious university)

Advanced degrees: None

Expertise: Married a billionaire, cofounded a quack “brain performance center,” spent several years of advocacy for school vouchers, which she said would “advance God’s Kingdom.”


Dept of Housing and Urban Development

Julian CastroB.A., Stanford University

Advanced degrees: J.D., Harvard Law School

Expertise: Mayor of San Antonio for 13 years

Ben CarsonB.A., Yale University

Advanced degrees: M.D., University of Michigan

Expertise: None. Widely acclaimed as gifted brain surgeon with no governmental or housing policy experience.