John's Notebook: The real presidential test is not about IQ

Emotional intelligence

This week, President Trump suggested comparing his IQ to that of his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He was responding to the report--disputed throughout the administration-- that Tillerson had called him a moron.

An IQ test is not the test we want our presidents to ace. The better measure of presidential greatness is Emotional intelligence-- EQ as it is called-- the ability to understand and regulate your emotions and read the emotions of those around you.

In presidents, it is a part of temperament and encompasses restraint, equilibrium and grace under pressure. It's what Lincoln had. Justice Holmes said of FDR that he had a second class intellect but a first class temperament.  

This week is the 55th anniversary of one of the great tests of presidential temperament. The Cuban missile crisis, when the Soviet Union put nuclear weapons 90 miles from the American coast-- one of the most dangerous moments in presidential history.

Presidential temperament and EQ is tested every day -- in ways little and small. In the way a president reacts to slights and other countries. On the big tests of presidential temperament like North Korea, it's a test we are all taking along with him.