NEW YORK, Oct 11 (APP):US President Donald Trump has defended his intelligence after reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had called him a “moron,” in what was seen as the latest sign of discord between the two.
‘I think it’s fake news, but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests,” Trump said in an interview with Forbes Magazine published Tuesday. “And I can tell you who is going to win.”
The president’s comments come less than a week after NBC News reported that Tillerson had described the president in unflattering terms and was on the verge of resigning earlier this year.
Trump and Tillerson have denied the reports, though Tillerson didn’t directly answer when reporters asked if he had called the president a moron. A State Department spokeswoman later said Tillerson doesn’t use that kind of language.
Trump meet with Tillerson at the White House on Tuesday.
Shortly beforehand, the president maintained he still had confidence in the secretary of state.
Asked about Trump’s IQ test challenge, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the daily news briefing: “It was a joke. You should get a sense of humour.”
Tillerson told reporters last week that he would be giving the president a recommendation on what to do about the Iran nuclear deal. Trump has called the deal an “embarrassment” and threatened to decertify it before an Oct. 15 deadline.
In the interview with Forbes, Trump also said that many of the unfilled positions within the State Department would remain empty. Tillerson has publicly complained about the slow pace of getting his assistant secretaries and other deputies nominated and confirmed.
“I’m generally not going to make a lot of the appointments that would normally be –because you don’t need them,” Trump said. “I mean, you look at some of these agencies, how massive they are, and it’s totally unnecessary. They have hundreds of thousands of people.”