Challenging Tillerson to IQ test a "joke" from Trump: White House

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-11 10:30:17|Editor: Yang Yi
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- The White House said Tuesday that an earlier comment by U.S. President Donald Trump about challenging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to an "IQ test" was "a joke."

"The President certainly never implied that the secretary of state was not incredibly intelligent, he made a joke, nothing more than that," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told a press briefing.

"He has full confidence in the secretary of state, they had a great visit earlier today and they are working hand-in-hand to move the president's agenda forward," she said.

The remark was a response to a Forbes interview with Trump released earlier Tuesday, in which Trump commented on a recent revelation that Tillerson had privately called his boss 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 reportedly told the magazine.

U.S. news reports said policy disagreements between Trump and Tillerson had led to frustration on Tillerson's part, causing him to consider resigning over the summer, and that he only stayed in his position after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stepped in.

Tillerson talked to a press conference immediately after the report, denying that he had considered leaving the State Department, while his spokesperson also said in a statement that Tillerson had never called Trump a "moron."

Trump told reporters over the weekend that he and Tillerson enjoyed "a very good relationship."

"We disagree on a couple of things. Sometimes I'd like him to be a little bit tougher," Trump said.

The disagreement was laid bare on Oct. 1, when Trump told Tillerson on Twitter that he is "wasting his time," and that the United States "will do what has to be done" regarding the nuclear issue concerning the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).