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Trump says he's willing to 'compare IQ tests' with Rex Tillerson — and Mensa is game to host

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President Trump thinks reports of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling him “a moron” are “fake news.” But if it happened, POTUS has a plan, and it involves matching IQ tests. Buzz60

WASHINGTON – President Trump’s lunch on Tuesday with Rex Tillerson might have been a little tense given the president’s latest volley in his feud with the secretary of State.

A week after reports that Tillerson once called Trump “a moron,” the president told Forbes magazine:

“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.”

If the president is serious, then he has at least one willing participant: Mensa, the high IQ society.

“American Mensa would be happy to hold a testing session for President Trump and Secretary Tillerson,” Charles Brown, the group’s communications director, told The Hill.

Trump’s challenge to compare IQ tests won’t tap down speculation that Tillerson may depart the Trump administration. And the president, in the interview, doubled down on recent criticism of his own secretary of State’s approach to high-stakes national security challenges.

Just one day after Tillerson first acknowledged the administration is seeking a dialogue with North Korea about its missile and nuclear tests, Trump on Oct. 1 tweeted that his top diplomat “is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.” The president was using his nickname for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“He was wasting his time,” Trump repeated in the Forbes interview, and defended his public Twitter rebuke of Tillerson. “I’m not undermining … I think I’m actually strengthening authority,” he said.

As Forbes put it: “It’s hard to see whose authority he’s strengthening, other than his own.”

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NBC News reported Wednesday morning that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson considered resigning over the summer amid tensions with the White House. Video provided by Newsy Newslook

Last week, Tillerson took the unusual step of making a televised statement to refute an NBC News report that he had considered resigning his post, and was so frustrated with Trump that he called him a “moron” during a July 20 meeting at the Pentagon. Trump later said he had total confidence in his secretary of State.

Defense Secretary James Mattis also attended the White House lunch; maybe he helped break the ice.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, meanwhile, downplayed the president’s IQ comment, saying “he made a joke, nothing more than that.”

More: Trump says he has total confidence in Secretary of State Tillerson after ‘moron’ flap

More: Trump: Rex Tillerson is wasting his time negotiating with ‘Little Rocket Man’

More: Sec. of State Tillerson ‘taking a little time off’ but not resigning

A look at Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson holds up a Boy Scout

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson holds up a Boy Scout scarf that his wife Brenda placed on him at the end of his talk at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., on July 21, 2017. The Boy Scouts unveiled a bronze statue of Tillerson and presented him with a flag and smaller replica statue.  F. Brian Ferguson, Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (C), Defense Secretary

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, center, Defense Secretary James Mattis, right, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, second from right, arrive to brief members of the House of Representatives in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on July 20, 2017, in Washington, D.C. The Trump Administration cabinet members briefed members of Congress behind closed doors about the ongoing fight against the Islamic State in Syria.  Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images
World Petroleum Congress President Jozsef Toth, right,

World Petroleum Congress President Jozsef Toth, right, poses for photographs as he hands the Dewhurst Award to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the World Petroleum Congress, hosted by Istanbul, Turkey, on July 9, 2017.  AP
President Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir

President Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit, in Hamburg on July 7, 2017. A separate U.S.-Russia-brokered truce for southern Syria, brokered by the U.S. and Russia, is meant to help allay growing concerns by neighboring Jordan and Israel about Iranian military ambitions in the area. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, also attend.  Evan Vucci, AP
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, leans

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, leans in to hear a question about Syria asked of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on June 28, 2017, at the State Department in Washington.  Jacquelyn Martin, AP
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (R) escorts Qatari

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, escorts Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani prior to a scheduled meeting at the State Department June 27, 2017, in Washington, D.C.  Win McNamee, Getty Images
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, arrives with

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, arrives with Ivanka Trump to a 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report ceremony at the State Department on June 27, 2017, in Washington.   Jacquelyn Martin, AP
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, Defense Secretary

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Vice President Mike Pence talk before President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speak in the Rose Garden at the White House on June 26, 2017, in Washington.  Alex Brandon, AP
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson receives a hongi,

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, receives a hongi, a traditional greeting, by a Maori elder as he is welcomed to Premiere House in Wellington on June 6, 2017.  Pool photo by Mark Tantrum
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, left, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson take a garden walk at Government House in Sydney, Australia, on June 5, 2017, for the 2017 Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) annual meeting.   Pool photo by Mark Metcalfe
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (C) stands with Rolling

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, center, stands with Rolling Thrunder, Inc., founder Artie Muller, third from right, and U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin, right, as opening remarks are delivered at the Pentagon on May 28, 2017, in honor of Memorial Day.Cabinet members drove Harley Davidsons the full route on the 30th Anniversary of Rolling Thunder.  Paul J. Richards, AFP/Getty Images
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson mounts up at the Pentagon

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson mounts up at the Pentagon on May 28, 2017, to drive a Harley Davidison the full route on the 30th Anniversary of Rolling Thunder, where approximately 900,000 motorcycle riders parade through the streets of Washington, D.C., in honor of Memorial Day.  Paul J. Richards, AFP/Getty Images
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks to reporters

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks to reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Tel Aviv from Riyadh on May 22, 2017.  Mandel Ngan, AFP/Getty Images
President Trump listens to Secretary of State Rex

President Trump listens to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a meeting with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.   Mandel Ngan, AFP/Getty Images
(L-R) Mexican Secretary of Government Miguel Angel

Left to right, Mexican Secretary of Government Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly talk to the media on May 18, 2017 at the State Department in Washington, D.C.  Alex Wong, Getty Images
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson holds the Arctic Council

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson holds the Arctic Council chair’s gavel before handing it to Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini, right, as Finland becomes the chair during the plenary session of the Arctic Council meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska, on May 11, 2017.  Nicholas Kamm, AFP/Getty Images
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, speak to the media at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on May 10, 2017.  Jim Lo Scalzo, European Pressphoto Agency
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stands next to the

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stands next to the American Foreign Service Association Memorial Plaque during a ceremony on Foreign Affairs Day at the department headquarters in the Harry S. Truman building May 5, 2017, in Washington, D.C.  Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers an address

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers an address to State Department employees at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on May 3, 2017. Tillerson updated State Department employees on the foreign policy perspective of the Trump administration.   Michael Reynolds, European Pressphoto Agency
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks as Antonio

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks as Antonio Guterres, left, Secretary-General of the United Nations, listens during a United Nations Security Council meeting about the proliferation of nuclear weapons in North Korea at United Nations headquarters in New York on April 28, 2017.  Justin Lane, European Pressphoto Agency
China's President Xi Jinping, right, shakes hands with

China’s President Xi Jinping, right, shakes hands with U.S. State of Secretary Rex Tillerson at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 19, 2017.  Pool photo by Thomas Peter
Trump gestures as he passes Tillerson after his address

Trump gestures as he passes Tillerson after his address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28, 2017.  Alex Brandon, AP
Tillerson attends the Foreign Ministers Meeting for

Tillerson attends the Foreign Ministers Meeting for Syria at the World Conference Center Bonn in Bonn, Germany, on Feb. 17, 2017.  Friedemann Vogel, European Pressphoto Agency
Tillerson, accompanied by State Department Undersecretary

Tillerson, accompanied by State Department Undersecretary for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, left, takes the podium to speak to employees upon arrival at the State Department on Feb. 2, 2017.  Andrew Harnik, AP
President Trump looks on as Tillerson, accompanied

President Trump looks on as Tillerson, accompanied by wife Renda St. Clair, is sworn in as the 69th secretary of State by Vice President Pence in the Oval Office on Feb 1, 2017.  Michael Reynolds, Pool/Getty Images
Tillerson and his wife, Renda, arrive on the West Front

Tillerson and his wife, Renda, arrive on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2017, in for Trump’s inauguration ceremony.  Win McNamee, AP
Tillerson attends the Chairman's Global Dinner at the

Tillerson attends the Chairman’s Global Dinner at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on Jan. 17, 2017, in Washington.  Pool, Getty Images
Tillerson testifies on Capitol Hill on Jan. 11, 2017,

Tillerson testifies on Capitol Hill on Jan. 11, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  J. Scott Applewhite, AP
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., meets

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., meets with Tillerson in McConnell’s office at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 4, 2017.  Jim Lo Scalzo, European Pressphoto Agency
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., talks with Tillerson before

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., talks with Tillerson before the start of a meeting on Capitol Hill on Jan. 4, 2017.  Zach Gibson, AFP/Getty Images
Tillerson meets with Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Tillerson meets with Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., on Capitol Hill on Jan. 4, 2017.  Cliff Owen, AP
Audience members attend a speech by Tillerson during

Audience members attend a speech by Tillerson during the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition on Nov. 7, 2016.  Nezar Balout, AFP/Getty Images
Tillerson speaks during the 2015 Oil and Money conference

Tillerson speaks during the 2015 Oil and Money conference in central London on Oct. 7, 2015.  Ben Stansall, AFP/Getty Images
Tillerson addresses the World Gas Conference in Paris

Tillerson addresses the World Gas Conference in Paris on June 2, 2015.  Eric Piermont, AFP/Getty Images
Rex Tillerson, then CEO of ExxonMobil, speaks during

Rex Tillerson, then CEO of ExxonMobil, speaks during the 21st World Petroleum Congress in Moscow on June 16, 2014. The Senate on Feb. 1, approved President Trump’s nomination of Tillerson to head the State Department.  Sergei Ilnitsky, European Pressphoto Agency
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tillerson shake

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tillerson shake hands at a ceremony to present awards to the heads and employees of major energy companies in St. Petersburg on June 21, 2013.  Michael Klimentyev, AFP/Getty Images
Tillerson and Putin attend a ceremony after the signing

Tillerson and Putin attend a ceremony after the signing an agreement between Rosneft and ExxonMobil on joint development of hard-to-access reserves in western Siberia on June 15, 2012.  European Pressphoto Agency
Tillerson speaks with Putin during the signing of a

Tillerson speaks with Putin during the signing of a Rosneft-ExxonMobil strategic partnership agreement in Sochi, Russia, on Aug. 30, 2011.  Alexey Druzhinin, AFP/Getty Images
Tillerson participates in a Senate Finance Committee

Tillerson participates in a Senate Finance Committee hearing in Washington on May 12, 2011.  Mark Wilson, Getty Images
Tillerson speaks at a news conference after the ExxonMobil

Tillerson speaks at a news conference after the ExxonMobil annual shareholders meeting in Dallas on May 28, 2008.  Brian Harkin
ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson is President-elect Donald

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson is President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of State.  2006 photo by LM Otero, AP

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