President Donald Trump on Saturday dismissed an attack by Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan on a January tweet she said taunted North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un on nuclear warfare, telling a Pennsylvania rally on Saturday: "I'm really smart."
"I went to the Wharton School of Finance as a student," Trump told supporters of Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone, who is in a tight special election race on Tuesday. "I'm very smart.
"The best business school, I think," he said of Wharton, at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "It's one of the hardest schools, at least in my day.
"Then, I have to read, like, 'Is Trump a really good speaker?" the president said. "She's talking about, 'He uses a language like … .'"
In a Jan. 4 column on her website, Noonan slammed how Trump's tone in a tweet two days earlier about his "nuclear button" amounted to taunting Kim — possibly bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war.
Noonan, President Ronald Reagan's speechwriter who won the Pulitzer Prize last year for her Journal columns, called Trump's tweet "destructive and dangerous."
"It is cavalier about a subject that could not be graver," she explained. "Because the language and venue reflect an immature mind, the grammar and usage a cluttered and undisciplined one.
"By raising the possibility of nuclear exchange on social media, the president diminishes the taboo against nuclear use.
"Anything you can joke about on Twitter has lost its negative mystique.
"Destigmatizing the idea of nuclear use makes it more acceptable, more possible — more likely," Noonan said.
"Bragging about your arsenal makes it sound as if nuclear weapons are like other weapons, when they’re not.
"Using a taunting public tone toward an adversary such as Mr. Kim, who may be mad, heightens the chance of nuclear miscalculation.
"The president's tweet is an attempt to get under the skin of a sociopath.
"Is it a good idea to get under the skin of a sociopath who enjoys shooting missiles?" Noonan asked.
But Trump hit back on Saturday.
"Remember, I used say how easy it is to be presidential?" he asked. "But you would all be out of here right now.
"You would be so bored."
Trump then goes, mockingly, into a "presidential" tone to emphasize his point.
"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being here tonight," he began before ending shortly with "thank you very much."
The crowd cheered.
"See, that's easy," President Trump said. "That's much easier than doing what I have to do.
"But this is much more effective. Don't forget, this got us elected.
"If I came like a stiff, you guys wouldn't be here tonight."
Trump then turned to Noonan's piece.
"So, I'm reading Peggy Noonan. She's a nice woman. I like her.
"She doesn't like me much," the president said, "but she is writing like I'm some kind of a Neanderthal.
"And, I'm saying, 'You know, I'm really smart.'"
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