In an interview with Forbes magazine released Tuesday, President Donald Trump suggested he has a higher IQ than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
When challenged that Tillerson had reportedly called the president a moron, Trump shot back.
“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.”
Tillerson was the subject of much speculation last week that predicted America’s top diplomat would either resign or be fired for policy differences with Trump. Tillerson famously endorsed the Paris climate accord at a global warming summit in Alaska last May just as Trump was preparing to declare his decision to walk out of the environmental agreement.
WATCH TILLERSON ADDRESS THE CONTROVERSY:
The Forbes interview also covers Trump’s public criticism of Tillerson’s diplomatic efforts with North Korea. The president repeated his contention that the secretary of state was “wasting his time” talking to the North Koreans but denies that making these comments softened Tillerson’s bargaining position.
“I’m not undermining,” Trump told Forbes. “I think I’m actually strengthening authority.”
If it often appears that Trump doesn’t trust Tillerson or just about anyone in his cabinet, the president explained why in a previous Forbes interview:
“I’d be going to work with my dad when I was 5 or 6 years old. … Besides telling me again and again not to drink, not to smoke and not to chase women, he always told me: ‘Never trust anybody.’ Then he’d ask me if I trusted anybody. I’d say, ‘No.’ ‘Do you trust me?’ he’d ask. I’d say, ‘Yes.'”
“And he’d say: ‘No! Don’t even trust me!'”