When the Trump administration goes low, Mensa goes high … brow?
The organization of certified geniuses announced this week that it would host an IQ test for President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The organization’s opportunistic move comes after NBC News reported that Tillerson called Trump a “moron.”
On Oct. 4, NBC News reported:
The tensions came to a head around the time President Donald Trump delivered a politicized speech in late July to the Boy Scouts of America, an organization Tillerson once led, the officials said.
Just days earlier, Tillerson had openly disparaged the president, referring to him as a “moron,” after a July 20 meeting at the Pentagon with members of Trump’s national security team and Cabinet officials, according to three officials familiar with the incident.
On Tuesday, Trump called Tillerson’s remarks “fake news” in an interview with Forbes’ Randall Lane. Trump continued, “but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”
That’s when Mensa stepped in.
This juicy little distraction was apparently irresistible to Mensa, the world’s largest association of people with very high IQs. In an unfortunate interview with the Boston Globe, spokesman Charles Brown said that “We’re happy to offer our test to anybody really who’s interested in joining our society.” Mensa also issued a press release proclaiming, “Mensa IQ Tests Abound in October — Politicians Welcome,” noting that “all brilliance is welcome” and “IQ testing can provide insight on how one’s brain processes information.”
The organization also weighed in on Trump’s medium of choice, Twitter, and Facebook:
If only there was an organization known for measuring IQ… 🤔 https://t.co/xbOKnW63ta
— American Mensa (@AmericanMensa) October 10, 2017
“The spat almost reads like something out of the Onion, so bizarre that it could pass as satire,” The Washington Post’s Derek Hawkins wrote.
However, Mensa’s move underlines a growing marketing and PR trend that involves reacting to Trump’s comments. More brand managers could consider the president’s words and actions fair game in the attempt to grab headlines.
In this case, Mensa’s decision paid off through news media mentions.
When asked if any American president or Cabinet member has ever taken a Mensa admissions test before, Brown pointed out that while the group can confirm membership, it doesn’t release who’s actually taken the brain-busting exam.
“But it’s important to note that our admissions test is not the sole way to qualify for Mensa — there are hundreds of other prior-evidence tests that can qualify a member,” Brown said. “And the early success of many presidents no doubt exposed them to those types of qualifying avenues.”
If Trump decides to take Mensa up on its offer, he should study up.
The nonprofit organization is open to individuals who score within top two percent of the generation population. So, individuals like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking? Gotcha. We’re not so sure about Trump.