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President-elect Donald Trump thanked a few of his cabinet picks for their work during various Senate confirmation hearings, calling it the ‘highest IQ of any cabinet ever assembled.’ (Jan. 19)

President-elect Donald Trump attended a luncheon with several of his Cabinet picks Thursday, and it seemed he just couldn’t help but gush about them.

He name-checked South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, his choice to be ambassador to the United Nations.

“We’re going to send her over to speak to China; We’re going to send her over to speak to everybody,” Trump said. “I think we’re going to do a lot of great things, Nikki, right? Thank you for going through this, you did a fantastic job.”

He lamented the Democratic gantlet of criticism run by Tom Price, whom he picked to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

“They wanted to end his career so fast, and then they found out, ‘man, he’s smart,’ ” Trump said.

“We have a lot of smart people … We have by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever,” he quipped to the crowd at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

Reporters were escorted out of the room shortly afterward, just minutes after the remarks began.

The luncheon kicked off a two-day marathon of inaugural events. Later Thursday afternoon, Trump participated in a wreathing-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and attended a concert and rally at the Lincoln Memorial.

Guests at the so-called “leadership luncheon” included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, and House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. Also in attendance: GOP mega-donor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

According to a brochure posted by the Center for Public Integrity, donors who gave $1 million or more to the Inauguration Committee got four tickets to the luncheon.

Trump joked during his comments about how much Cornyn had raised from him over the years. And true to Trump form, he heaped praise on the event space at the Trump hotel, a large white ballroom with gold trim.

“Where is this? This is a gorgeous room,” Trump said. “A total genius must have built this place”

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