President Trump continued to jab Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this week by suggesting they need to “compare IQ tests,” in response to a report that the former Exxon-Mobile CEO called him a “moron” this summer,
Tillerson has adamantly denied the report; and in an interview with Forbes published Tuesday, Trump said it was “fake news,” but he then defended his intelligence by saying he’d challenge Tillerson to an intelligence test any time.
“I think it’s fake news, but if he did say that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win,” Trump quipped.
Tillerson did all he could last week to tamp down the report that stated he called he president a moron, and also said Vice President Mike Pence had to intervene to prevent him from resigning.
His relationship with Trump has been under intense scrutiny, as the president oft appears to undercut him on matters of serious national security, especially in diplomatic relations with the unfriendly nations of North Korea and Iran. Trump told Forbes he believes he is actually “strengthening authority.”
“I’m not undermining,” Trump said. “I think I’m actually strengthening authority.”
Furthermore, Tillerson has complained publicly about the White House preventing him from making key appointments.
Still, both he and Trump spoke last week to the strength of their relationship following the report, with Trump saying he has “total confidence” in his secretary of state.
On Saturday, Trump denied a faltering relationship with Tillerson but did say he sometimes wishes he was “tougher.”
Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis are scheduled to have lunch with Trump on Tuesday.
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