President Donald Trump, after he publicly questioned his secretary of state’s intelligence, said Tuesday that he has confidence in Rex Tillerson.
“Yes,” Trump said when asked by a reporter whether he has confidence in the former oil executive.
Trump’s relationship with Tillerson has been especially strained since reports that the secretary of state called the President a “moron” at a meeting at the Pentagon earlier this year. Trump and Tillerson met in the Oval Office on Friday, and are meeting twice Tuesday as their public feud continues.
Trump, clearly scorned by reports of Tillerson’s comments, told Forbes in an interview released Tuesday that he has a higher IQ 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 said. “And I can tell you who is going to win.”
Trump said Tuesday during a meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that he didn’t think he undercut Tillerson with his comment about his intelligence.
“No, I didn’t undercut anybody,” Trump said. “I don’t believe in undercutting people.”
The public back and forth has laid bare the fraught Trump-Tillerson relationship, making Tuesday’s meetings possibly high stakes — if not awkward — affairs.
A senior State Department official said Friday’s meeting was last-minute and was related to the Middle East. The “moron” issue was not addressed, according to this official.