President Donald Trump said he will have to compare IQ tests with Rex Tillerson if the secretary of state really called him 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 said in an interview with Forbes that was published Tuesday morning.
News broke last week that Tillerson called President Trump a “moron” in a closed-door meeting with members of Trump’s national security team last year.
First reported by NBC, several other major news organizations confirmed the insult, some saying that Tillerson actually called Trump a “f—king moron” and nearly resigned over clashes with the Trump Administration.
Just now, @SRuhle: “My source didn’t just say he called him a moron. He said he called him an f-ing moron.”
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) October 4, 2017
Tillerson called a press conference to address the allegations, but didn’t outright deny calling the president a moron — a State Department spokeswoman denied the “moron” comment on Tillerson’s behalf in a statement released later that same day.
Trump and Tillerson have publicly portrayed a positive relationship, but there have been signs that there could be trouble in paradise. Still, when reporters asked Trump about his relationship with the secretary of state of the weekend, Trump characterized it as “good.”
“We have a very good relationship,” Trump told reporters Saturday, according to The Washington Post. “We disagree on a couple of things. Sometimes I’d like him to be a little bit tougher. But other than that, we have a very good relationship.”
The first signs of their potentially deteriorating relationship came up about a month ago after Trump seemed to undercut Tillerson’s attempts at reaching a diplomatic solution with North Korea, which has been ramping up its nuclear missile program in recent months.
When Tillerson said he was in communication with Kim Jong Un’s regime, Trump took to Twitter saying Tillerson was “wasting his time talking to North Korea.”
I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2017
But Trump told Forbes he didn’t think the comments underminded Tillerson.
“I think I’m actually strengthening authority,” he said.
Trump, Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have plans to meet for lunch Tuesday in the president’s private dining room, Forbes reported.