Trump throws down the ‘moron’ challenge

Published: 11 October 2017

Trump Tillerson

US President thinks he would win an IQ test with his Secretary of State

How much would you like to see Trump and Tillerson compare IQ tests?
Image © 2017 AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais 
President Donald Trump has suggested he's smarter than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, saying 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 in an interview published on Tuesday.

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 on 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 on 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."