Donald Trump has revealed his gut can tell him more than “anybody else’s brain can ever tell me”, in an extraordinary interview with the Washington Post newspaper.
The US President was discussing trade and his ongoing battle with the head of US Federal Reserve, whom he has blamed for raising interest rates and damaging the economy.
Asked what he was basing his opinions on, he said: “I’m doing deals, and I’m not being accommodated by the Fed. I’m not happy with the Fed.
“They’re making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.”
In the same interview, Trump addressed his recent dismissal of his own government’s report on climate change.
He said: “One of the problems that a lot of people like myself – we have very high levels of intelligence, but we’re not necessarily such believers.”
Then, in the very next sentence, he added: “You look at our air and our water, and it’s right now at a record clean.”
Trump then spoke at length about plastic in the ocean, which is not tied to climate change, before saying: ”...if you go back and if you look at articles, they talked about global freezing, they talked about at some point the planets could have freeze to death, then it’s going to die of heat exhaustion.”
Andrew Dessler, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University, described the president’s comments as“idiotic”.
And Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, said: “Facts aren’t something we need to believe to make them true, we treat them as optional at our peril.”
The president’s claims of “high levels of intelligence” drew a swift response on Twitter. One user highlighted the wisdom associated with staring directly at the sun.
Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the hit cartoon Family Guy, said the interview reads “like a cat walking across a keyboard”.
David Axelrod, former president Barack Obama’s chief strategist, branded it “absolutely ludicrous”.
And Robert Reich, a professor at Berkely, highlighted Trump’s continued dismissal of actual intelligence in a range of other areas crucial to the United States.
John Sipher, a former CIA operative, took it one step further, asking: “As head of government, who is governing?”
And Comedian Sarah Cooper simply said: “He makes George Bush sound like a goddamn genius.”
During the same interview Trump reiterated his claim that wildfires like those which have devastated California in recent weeks can be prevented by the humble rake.
He said: ”...you go to other places where they have denser trees — it’s more dense, where the trees are more flammable — they don’t have forest fires like this, because they maintain. And it was very interesting, I was watching the firemen, and they’re raking brush — you know the tumbleweed and brush, and all this stuff that’s growing underneath.
“It’s on fire, and they’re raking it, working so hard, and they’re raking all this stuff. If that was raked in the beginning, there’d be nothing to catch on fire. It’s very interesting to see. A lot of the trees, they took tremendous burn at the bottom, but they didn’t catch on fire.
“The bottom is all burned but they didn’t catch on fire because they sucked the water, they’re wet. You need forest management, and they don’t have it.”