Trump says he'd rather be 'a dictator' than 'a dumb person' after bragging about the cognitive test he took in 2018

Trump says he'd rather be 'a dictator' than 'a dumb person' after bragging about the cognitive test he took in 2018
Former President Donald Trump.Allison Joyce/Getty Images
  • Former President Donald Trump mused about embracing being portrayed as a dictator.
  • Trump made the remarks at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Fla. on Thursday night.

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday joked about being depicted as "a dictator" by the press, which he assumed was the result of the cognitive test he has repeatedly bragged about passing in 2018.

"Which would you rather be, a dumb person or a dictator?" Trump said Thursday night at the Heritage Foundation's annual leadership conference in Florida at the Ritz-Carlton resort on Amelia Island.

"Perhaps a dictator would be better," he continued. "I don't want to be a dumb person."

In the same speech, Trump said he was surprised nobody ever found out that he told the president of a NATO country in a closed door meeting that the US would not come to their protection if they didn't increase their defense spending.

Experts on authoritarianism have warned that Trump not only frequently praises strongmen dictators on the world stage, but also exhibits authoritarian tendencies of his own, culminating in the January 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill.


In the former president's assessment, the dictator chatter only began because he did so well on a cognitive test he took in 2018.

"First they said, 'Not too smart,'" Trump said earlier in his speech. "Well that all went away, and I said, 'Doc Ronny [Jackson], I gotta take a test.' He said, "You know the problem is, sir, this is essentially a public place.' One of the great hospitals of the world, right? You have a series of doctors sitting there and all, and if you do badly, the word's gonna get out ... And I did it in front of a panel, and we aced it. And the one person said, 'That's the first time I've ever seen anyone ace it.' So all of that stuff stopped ... but then they made me a dictator instead."

The test Trump took is called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, designed to detect signs of dementia.

It was also the source of his viral "person, woman, man, camera, TV" remarks from July 2020.