Trump chal­lenges Sec­re­tary of State to IQ test to see who’s the ‘mo­ron’

Pretoria News - - OPINION&ANALYSIS -

US PRES­I­DENT Don­ald Trump this week sug­gested com­par­ing in­tel­li­gence tests with Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son af­ter the top US diplo­mat al­legedly called his boss a “mo­ron”.

“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,” Trump told busi­ness magazine Forbes this week.

Trump also de­nied that he had un­der­mined his sec­re­tary of state with re­marks that Tiller­son was wast­ing his time by reach­ing out to the North Kore­ans over the coun­try’s provo­ca­tions.

“I’m not un­der­min­ing. I think I’m ac­tu­ally strength­en­ing author­ity,” the pres­i­dent as­serted.

Asked about the re­ports dur­ing a meet­ing in the Oval Of­fice with Henry Kissinger, Trump said he still had con­fi­dence in Tiller­son and main­tained the IQ quip did not un­der­cut him.

Trump had not in­tended to ques­tion Tiller­son’s in­tel­li­gence and “he made a joke and noth­ing more than that,” White House spokesper­son Sarah San­ders said.

The men had a “great visit” dur­ing a lunch at the White House on Tues­day, San­ders said, with­out pro­vid­ing de­tails of what was dis­cussed.

State Depart­ment spokesper­son Heather Nauert said Tiller­son’s IQ was “high” but de­clined to dis­cuss the mat­ter fur­ther.

Tiller­son de­nied ru­mours last week that he had nearly re­signed amid mount­ing frus­tra­tions with Trump and re­ports he had called the pres­i­dent a mo­ron af­ter a July 20 meet­ing at the Pen­tagon with mem­bers of Trump’s na­tional se­cu­rity team and cabi­net of­fi­cials.

The Texan and for­mer ExxonMo­bil chief ex­ec­u­tive did not deny us­ing the de­scrip­tion, but said he would not be part of an ef­fort to di­vide the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Trump was to have lunch on Tues­day with Tiller­son and De­fence Sec­re­tary James Mat­tis. – dpa

PHOTO: AP

Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at Trump Na­tional Golf Club in Bed­min­ster, New Jer­sey, show­ing a united face ear­lier this year.

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