Trump's IQ call confuses allies

Central Station | 12 Oct 2017

Donald Trump has challenged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to "compare IQ tests," following reports that Tillerson had called him a "moron" - but the White House insists the president was only joking.

Trump issued the challenge in an interview with Forbes magazine, when asked about the "moron" reports. "And I can tell you who is going to win," he said. The White House and the State Department suggested that the president was simply trying to make light of what they describe as inaccurate reports of tension between them.

But Trump's comments have threatened to undermine Tillerson's diplomatic initiatives and sow confusion among allies and foes over whether he speaks for the United States and has the support of the White House.

Trump declared that he had confidence in Tillerson just hours after the publication of the interview, and before a private luncheon with Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

But people close to Trump say the president has grown increasingly dissatisfied with the former Exxon CEO.

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