WASHINGTON — President Trump said today that he didn’t “undercut” his secretary of State by telling a magazine that he’d beat Rex Tillerson in a head-to-head IQ showdown.
NBC News reported last week that Tillerson allegedly called Trump a “moron” in a July 20 Pentagon meeting in response to the president suggesting that he would can the commander in Afghanistan and comparing troop-level decisions to a 1980s NYC restaurant renovation.
Trump called the report “fake news.” Asked at a press briefing if he called Trump a moron, Tillerson replied, “I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that.”
In a new interview with Forbes, Trump 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.”
Mensa, an organization of members who scored within the top 2 percent of the general population on IQ tests, has since offered to take the president up on that challenge. “American Mensa would be happy to hold a testing session for President Trump and Secretary Tillerson,” Charles Brown, the group’s communications director, told The Hill.
At the end of Oval Office remarks today after a meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Trump was asked if he “undercut” Tillerson with the IQ remark.
“No, I didn’t undercut anybody,” Trump replied. “I don’t believe in undercutting people.”
Asked if he has confidence in his secretary of State, the president simply said, “Yes.”
Trump had a private lunch at the White House today with Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
On the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday, Trump told reporters that he and Tillerson “have a very good relationship.”
“We disagree on a couple of things,” he said. “Sometimes I’d like him to be a little bit tougher, but other than that, we have a very good relationship.”
“There’s never been a consideration in my mind to leave,” Tillerson said last week. “I serve at the appointment of the president and I am here for as long as the president feels I can be useful to achieving his objectives.”