Not all quotes are brilliant, and in fact, many are exceedingly dumb quotes. This time, we’ll have a bit of fun looking at a few.
Having money doesn’t necessarily make you elite, smarter, or fitter for survival. However, power, fame, and money do tend to corrupt. As Sir John Dalberg-Acton once wrote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” While this may not be absolutely true, it sure sounds probable in today’s world.
Little wonder there are plenty of glaringly dumb quotes from the rich and powerful. We’ll look at just a few of them because otherwise, this might take forever and a day.
Dumbest Quotes by a Lord?
Even though powerful people can acquire fabulous wealth, they often have their dumb moments. Here in the U.S., the system seems designed to promote the wealthy, not necessarily the bright.
Often, the rich must find clever ways to justify hoarding their wealth while others struggle. One example is Conrad Black, former CEO of Hollinger Inc., a Canada-based company that went bankrupt in 2007. Black is a long-time friend and former New York neighbor of current President Donald Trump.
Hollinger Inc. was the world’s third-largest media empire, publishing sites like the Daily Telegraph and The Chicago Sun-Times. Then, Black and associates allegedly “looted” $400M from the paper during 1997-2003, a figure approximately equal to the profits of the company.
According to the BBC, “Lord Black was convicted in 2007 for defrauding Hollinger International of $6.1 m by paying himself a tax-free bonus from the sale of newspaper assets without the approval of the company’s board.” Notably, Black was also found guilty of obstruction of justice, similar to Trump’s impeachable offenses.
A Flattering Book and Presidential Pardon
Recently, President Trump pardoned him for the fraud conviction after Black wrote a book praising Trump. The book was titled, “Donald J Trump: A President Like No Other.” Nevertheless, in 2016, Black remarked on how Trump had “brought the Archie Bunker vote” in a BBC Newsnight interview.
A U.S. jail in Florida released Black in 2012. Now, he plans to return to the House of Lords after saying Trump’s pardon “makes it easier.”
After the presidential pardon, Black said:
“Officially in the United States, I’ve never been charged, and I won in the end.”
Just like that.
Blame Insufficient Self-Generosity
In 1981, the world knew future Lord Black of Crossharbour for his “frequent, bullish declarations of Darwinian Capitalism.” One quote that particularly stands out was a response to criticism over his “increasingly byzantine” business arrangements.
“The only charge that anyone can level against us is one of insufficient generosity to ourselves.”
One wonders if President Trump would agree with such a quote?
See more about Conrad Black and Trump’s pardon via CBS News:
Dumbest Quotes by President Trump
Speaking of Donald Trump, it would be absurd to cover this subject without including him. Perhaps no other U.S. President has made as many ridiculous statements, much less the over 20,000 documented misleading claims in one term.
It’s hard to narrow down one quote, but perhaps this one about climate change ranks up there from a Tweet on 6/10/12:
“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
Tilting at Windmills
Or, perhaps President Trump’s many bizarre quotes about windmills might have to be chosen? In the October debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Trump suggested he knew more about win energy.
Biden mocked Trump over past claims that wind power can cause cancer, to which Trump replied:
“I know more about wind than you do. It’s extremely expensive, kills all the birds, it’s very intermittent, it’s got a lot of problems.”
We have a feeling Trump will be tilting at windmills for many years to come.
See the Biden, Trump argument over windmills below:
As a footnote, the Trump administration rolled back protections for birds in its final weeks.
As for Trump quotes, they just keep going, so here’s a look at some of the top dumbest quotes from 2019 from NowThis:
Elon Musk’s Dumbest Quotes
Like Trump, Elon Musk is prone to saying dumb things on Twitter. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO may be at the forefront of space technology, but in the social media space, he admits his quotes can be “definitely extremely dumb.”
One tweet, in particular, was very costly. In 2018, Musk tweeted that he had the “funding secured” to take Tesla private. However, it resulted in a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and a $40 million fine, reported Business Insider.
Definitely Extremely Dumb
In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Musk admitted he sometimes made dumb tweets.
“Look, you can either say things that are not controversial at all, and then you’re boring, and nobody cares,” Musk said. “Some of the things I say, I would like to retract them. It’s not like I stand by all the tweets I’ve ever done. Some of them were definitely extremely dumb.”
Admitting to saying something dumb is actually admirable. However, other tweets could be considered dangerous. For example, his tweets about the coronavirus pandemic have been particularly criticized. In California, there have been over 20,047 deaths from the virus to date and almost 1.4 million cases.
“In March, he described concern over the coronavirus outbreak as a “panic” and “dumb,” and he’s since tweeted incorrect information, such as his theory that children are “essentially immune” to the virus. Musk has also tweeted about flouting lockdown orders in California, where one of his Tesla factories is based, saying he’s willing to be arrested. (Tesla has since been granted permission to operate in California.)” wrote Avery Hartmans for Business Insider.
After calling California’s response to the pandemic “fascist,” Musk is reportedly planning to move to Texas.
Recently, Musk continued to tweet to express controversial opinions about his test for COVID-19.
Dumbest Quotes by a 2020 Presidential Candidate
What would a dumbest quotes piece for 2020 be without including presidential candidate Kanye West? Like Trump, he’s the gift that keeps on giving in that regard.
The 43-year-old rapper’s “Birthday Party” got 60,000 votes out of an estimated total of 160 million and conceded but tweeted “Kanye 2024” anyway. One of the problems was he missed a filing deadline in most states, so he appeared on only 12 state ballots. Oh well, “God appoints the president” anyway, according to West.
“Because when we win, it’s everybody’s birthday party,” he said.
He ran on a platform the included “cleaning up chemicals ‘in our deodorant, in our toothpaste.”
Interestingly, he said that he would model his management style at the White House after Wakanda, a fictional kingdom in the movie Black Panther.
His advisors at the time were his wife, Kim Kardashian-West, and – guess who –Elon Musk. West claimed he and Musk had been “talking about this for years” and that he “proposed to [Musk] to be the head of our space program.” Brilliant.
The Spoiler Effect
West, a vocal Trump supporter, immediately came under scrutiny, accused of siphoning votes from candidate Joe Biden. When asked if he was doing so, he reportedly responded, “I’m not denying it, I just told you. To say that the Black vote is Democratic is a form of racism and white supremacy.”
After wearing a MAGA hat, he claimed this was why:
“One of the main reasons I wore the red hat as a protest to the segregation of votes in the Black community. Also, other than the fact that I like Trump hotels and the saxophones in the lobby.”
Dumbest Quote Ever?
During a rally in Charleston, South Carolina, West, who goes by “ye” on Twitter, made perhaps his dumbest quote of all time.
In what the BBC called a “bewildering rant,” West claimed that the 19th-century abolitionist Harriet Tubman “never actually freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go to work for other white people.”
Surely, that’s one dumb quote for the record books.
See West at his South Carolina rally from 11Alive below:
Featured image: Screenshots via YouTube
Tina Gray is a freelance journalist, theatre enthusiast and aspiring author. She has a passion for telling stories through various mediums and regularly writes for various online publications. Her short stories will soon be published in her first volume. Currently, she resides in the San Fernando Valley and is studying screenwriting.