Is your president smarter than a fifth-grader? O.K., unless you’ve been held hostage in the U.S. Senate, or have just been lying in a coma, you already know the answer. It could be said that our president is the sort of preening, bullying ignoramus that gives other preening, bullying ignoramuses a bad name. Indeed, history might have been different if Trump had gone on Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?, the TV quiz show that Apprentice producer Mark Burnett had for a spell in the aughts. That show’s now on Nickelodeon, but we’re here. So let’s try out a few questions. Hint: the president’s responses are always b). And as you might guess, he’s always wrong.

Easy ones first

How do you pronounce Namibia?

a) Nah-mib-ia.

b) Nam-bia.

How do you pronounce Bhutan?

a) Boo-tan.

b) Butt-on.

How do you pronounce Nepal?

a) Neh-pall.

b) Nip-pul.

Are Bhutan and Nepal part of India?

a) No.

b) Yes.

Is the U.S. Constitution written in English?

a) Yes. Oldy-worldy English, but English nonetheless.

b) “It’s like a foreign language!”

Still easy …

If the ex-wife of somebody you know received a black eye from her then husband, do you …

a) Call her and tell her how sorry you are for her injuries?

b) Speculate that she ran into a refrigerator on purpose in order to squeeze money out of her husband?

A bit of American history

Have you read any biographies of former U.S. presidents?

a) Yes.

b) No. “I never have. I’m always busy doing a lot.”

Could Andrew Jackson have prevented the Civil War?

a) No. Especially difficult because he left office almost a quarter of a century before the war began.

b) Yes.

During the Revolutionary War, did the Continental Army take over the airports from the British?

a) No. Difficult to do, inasmuch as the war pre-dated the first airport by about 150 years.

b) Yes.

Frederick Douglass …

a) Was a fabled statesman and leading 19th-century abolitionist who died in 1895.

b) “Has done an amazing job” and is “being recognized more and more.” Good to know.

Did Canada burn down the White House?

a) No. The White House was burned in 1814. Canada didn’t become Canada until 1867. Besides, doing something like that would go against the country’s very nature.

b) Yes.

Who invented the wheel?

a) I dunno. Cavemen?

b) Americans. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!


On the subject of books, can you recite a verse from the Bible?

a) Possibly. Can I throw this one over to Mike Pence?

b) No. “To me that’s very personal. The Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics.”

Do you prefer the New Testament or the Old Testament?

a) Old—but again, I will defer to the vice president.

b) “Probably equal. I think it’s just incredible.”

General decorum

You are addressing a national jamboree of Boy Scouts. What do you say to them?

a) You commend them for their accomplishments and tell them about the great horizons that await them.

b) You tell them about a cocktail party you were at years before that was filled with “the hottest people in New York.”


What is the difference between H.I.V. and H.P.V.? (O.K., this is a bit tougher than the others.)

a) H.I.V. is a virus that attacks the immune system, while H.P.V. is a virus that attacks skin cells and membranes.

b) They’re the same thing.

Climate change is …

a) The most dire, slow-moving global crisis mankind faces.

b) A Chinese hoax. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

Are climate change and weather the same thing?

a) No. It’s like saying roads and cars are the same thing.

b) Yes. “In the East [in December 2017], it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”

Do windmills cause cancer?

a) No. Are you insane?

b) Yes.

Three Category 5 hurricanes have ravaged U.S. property over the past three years. Your response?

a) Say that it is devastating for those involved and warrants not only greater funds for rebuilding, but substantial investment and effort to reverse the root causes of climate change.

b) Say, “I never even knew a Category 5 existed,” and that nobody “has ever heard of a Category 5 hitting land.”

International relations

Do India and China share a border?

a) Yes. More than 2,500 miles, in fact. Hard to miss.

b) No.

Is Greenland for sale?

a) No. It’s an autonomous country.

b) Maybe.

Qasem Soleimani, the man you ordered a drone assassination of, was …

a) An Iranian general.

b) A Kurdish commander.

Can you read and absorb more than a single page at a time?

a) Yes. Well, at least I think so.

b) No.

Do maps make it easier for you to understand complex ideas?

a) Sometimes.

b) All the time.

Did Korea used to be part of China?

a) No.

b) Yes. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

When you try to call Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe at, say, 2:00 p.m. Washington time, what time is it in Tokyo?

a) 4:00 a.m.

b) 2:00 p.m.?

Did warring among the Baltic states lead to the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s?

a) No. I believe it was the Balkan states.

b) Yes.

Are the Balkans and the Baltics different from one another?

a) Yes, of course.

b) No.


You inspire top military leaders by …

a) Giving them encouragement, a defined mandate, and the personnel and equipment to get the job done.

b) Telling them, “You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.”

Do you like to read up on places before you visit them?

a) Yes.

b) No. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

What would be your thoughts on visiting the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial commemorating the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor?

a) That it is a solemn memorial paying tribute to the men and women killed during the surprise attack.

b) Say to your chief of staff, “Hey, John, what’s this all about? What’s this a tour of?”

Who said, “In war, there is no substitute for victory”?

a) General Douglas MacArthur.

b) Douglas Magarth.

The Defense Department should be …

a) The federal organization that protects U.S. interests, borders, and its people.

b) A profit center. “We should make money off everything.”

So that’s it. Yes, yes, he’s a “very stable genius” and all of that. We tried to be fair. We didn’t include examples of his rudimentary hold on the English language. Just, for instance: “forcef” and “forcer” for “forces”; “appliculble” for “applicable”; “obseles” for “obstacles”; and “oranges” for “origins.” Anyway, time’s up. And we didn’t even get a chance to mention the show trial being played out on the floor of the U.S. Senate this week—and in the dead of night, when most Americans are asleep. Nor did we mention Trump hiring Jeffrey Epstein apologists Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz for his defense team. One last question: Is there a double-indemnity clause with regard to impeachment?