Trump smarter than Tiller­son?

North Bay Nugget - - WORLD NEWS - Cather­ine Lucey

WASH­ING­TON — u.s. Pres­i­dent don­ald trump sug­gested he’s smarter than sec­re­tary of state rex tiller­son, say­ing in an in­ter­view pub­lished tues­day that if tiller­son did call him a mo­ron, as re­ported, the two should “com­pare IQ tests.”

“and I can tell you who is go­ing to win,” trump said to Forbes magazine.

trump’s tense re­la­tion­ship with tiller­son burst into pub­lic view last week. an nbc news story claimed Vice-Pres­i­dent Mike Pence had to talk tiller­son out of re­sign­ing this sum­mer, and that tiller­son had called trump a “mo­ron.”

tiller­son said he never con­sid­ered re­sign­ing, though he didn’t di­rectly ad­dress the re­ported in­sult. his spokes­woman later said he never used such lan­guage.

trump and tiller­son are sched­uled to have lunch tues­day at the White house with defence sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis.

state depart­ment of­fi­cials did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

trump has at times ap­peared to un­der­cut tiller­son’s mes­sage on some of amer­ica’s most sen­si­tive na­tional se­cu­rity chal­lenges, in­clud­ing Iran and north Korea. tiller­son also has pub­licly com­plained about the White house block­ing him from mak­ing key ap­point­ments.

still, last week trump told re­porters he has “to­tal con­fi­dence” in his sec­re­tary of state.

In the Forbes in­ter­view, done Friday, trump re­sponded to crit­i­cism that he’s un­der­mined his sec­re­tary of state through his of­ten provoca­tive tweets that have in­ter­fered di­rectly with on­go­ing di­plo­matic ef­forts.

“I’m not un­der­min­ing,” trump told Forbes. “I think I’m ac­tu­ally strength­en­ing au­thor­ity.”

as for tiller­son’s re­ported “mo­ron” com­ment, the pres­i­dent said, “I think it’s fake news. 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 pres­i­dent launched a se­ries of tweets on a wide range of top­ics tues­day morn­ing.

he said that reach­ing out to con­gres­sional democrats for help in get­ting im­mi­gra­tion leg­is­la­tion passed is dif­fi­cult be­cause “the democrats don’t want se­cure bor­ders.” In his tweet, trump charged that democrats “don’t care about safety for u.s.a.”

Evan vuCCi/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

After re­port­edly be­ing called a mo­ron by Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son, U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, above, says he’s smarter than Tiller­son and says the two should com­pare IQ tests.

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