Tillerson challenged by Trump on IQ score
DONALD Trump’s feud with top diplomat Rex Tillerson burst back into the open on Tuesday, after the US president joked that he and his secretary of state should compare IQ scores.
Having dismissed reports that Tillerson had once called him a “moron”, Trump refused to let the controversy go, renewing questions about Tillerson’s future.
In an interview with Forbes magazine, Trump was asked about last week’s report that Tillerson had insulted him behind his back – a story that both had already denied.
“I think it’s fake news,” Trump said, before allowing: “But if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”
The interview was published hours before the two men met in the White House for talks on Iran, Turkey and North Korea and then lunch with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
Ahead of the sit-down, Trump had insisted he still had confidence in the secretary of state, saying: “I did not undercut anybody. I don’t believe in undercutting people.” But White House insiders say that Tillerson’s refusal to personally deny an NBC News report that he labelled Trump a “moron” after a July meeting had deepened the rift.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted there was no rift between the men – and that Trump does not think Tillerson is stupid.
“The president certainly never implied the secretary of state was not incredibly intelligent. He made a joke, nothing more than that,” Sanders said.