Trump claims his incoming administration has the 'highest IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled'

President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet picks have faced criticism and grueling confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill, but Trump rebuked the critics on Thursday, boasting that his incoming Cabinet has "by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled."

The president-elect praised his administration picks at length during a leadership luncheon at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C.

He touted the "genius" of Rep. Tom Price, his nominee for secretary of health and human services, adding that Democrats "wanted to end [Price's] career so fast, and then they found out he's so smart."

Price came under intense scrutiny this week during his confirmation hearing about how the Trump administration would tackle Obamacare and other issues outside the health sphere.

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"They were so nice to Tom, right? Where's Tom? This guy's become a star. Where is Tom? Man, were they nice to you. It is a lovely group of people, Tom," Trump said. "We have a lot of smart people. I tell you what. One thing we've learned we have by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled."

Trump also went on to give shout outs to his other Cabinet picks, praising Steve Mnuchin for doing a "fantastic job" despite "getting grilled" in his ongoing hearing, and calling Sen. Jeff Sessions "legendary."

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Trump also scanned the room for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, his pick for ambassador to the United Nations.

"I think Nikki's here someplace," he said. "When I send her over to speak to China . . . I think we're going to do a lot of great things, Nikki, right?"

Reince Priebus, Trump's incoming chief of staff, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Tom Barrack, the chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, were also in attendance among others.