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Trump: If Tillerson called me a moron, 'We'll have to compare IQ tests'

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

President Trump said he believes reports that Rex Tillerson called him a “moron” are not true — but either way, he says, he’s smarter than his secretary of state.

“I think it’s fake news, but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests,” Trump told Forbes magazine for a cover story that was published online Tuesday. “And I can tell you who is going to win.”

Last week, NBC News reported that Tillerson considered resigning in July after Trump’s rambling, highly politicized speech to a gathering of Boy Scouts, and that Vice President Mike Pence had to talk him out of it. NBC also said that after the speech, Tillerson called Trump a “moron.”

The report prompted Tillerson to abruptly call a hastily arranged press conference during which he refuted the story and reaffirmed his commitment to the Trump agenda.

“The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain as secretary of state because I have never considered leaving this post,” Tillerson said.

Trump subsequently called the NBC report “fake news” on Twitter and demanded the network apologize.

But when asked specifically whether he had called the president a moron, Tillerson did not deny it, saying, “I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that.”

Shortly after the press conference, CNN said it had confirmed through its own sources the “moron” remark, and MSNBC reporter Stephanie Rule elaborated on that, saying the exact phrase Tillerson used was “f***ing moron.”

Trump and Tillerson are scheduled to have lunch at the White House Tuesday.

Before their lunch, Trump was asked by a pool reporter if his comments to Forbes were intended to “undercut” his chief diplomat.

“I didn’t undercut anybody,” Trump replied. “I don’t believe in undercutting people.”

Asked if he still had confidence in Tillerson, Trump replied, “Yes.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks as President Trump listens during his ceremonial swearing-in at the White House, Feb. 1, 2017. (Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Trump has long claimed to have a high IQ, and has a fixation on comparing his with others.

“Sorry losers and haters,” Trump tweeted in 2013, “but my I.Q. is one of the highest and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.”

He also tweeted his IQ is higher than Jon Stewart’s, and earlier this year tweeted that MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski’s was “low.”

— With reporting by Chris Wilson and Olivier Knox

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