Trump boasted that he would win in a battle of smarts with Tillerson

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Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty

Donald Trump continues to dismiss the report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the president a “moron” — but would be happy to compare IQ tests to see who the real moron is.

In an interview with Forbes magazine published Tuesday, Trump insinuated that he would win in a battle of smarts with Tillerson.

“I think it’s fake news, but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests,” he said. “And I can tell you who is going to win.”

Tillerson quickly addressed an NBC News report last week about the name-calling, which also claimed he almost resigned this past summer amid growing tensions in the White House and that Vice President Mike Pence had to persuade him to stay.

In a hastily arranged press conference at the State Department, Tillerson said his “commitment to the president is strong.” However, he did not address the “moron” comment directly.

Pressed about NBC News’ report that he called Trump a “moron,” Tillerson said: “I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that. This is what I don’t understand about Washington. I’m not from this place.”

Tillerson went on to praise the president as a “smart” leader who “loves his country” and “demands results wherever he goes.”

“Accountability is one of the bedrock values the president and I share,” he added.

Minutes after the press conference, Trump took to Twitter to announce that Tillerson had “totally refuted” the “#FakeNews” report by NBC News.

Later, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that Tillerson did not call Trump a “moron.”

“He did not say that,” Nauert said. “The secretary does not use that language.”

Asked about the incident during the president’s visit to Las Vegas to meet with first responders and victims of Sunday night’s deadly shooting there, Trump said he was “very honored” by Tillerson’s press conference comments.

“It was fake news, totally phony story,” Trump said.

He added that he has “total confidence” in Tillerson.

In the Forbes interview, Trump also claimed to have had “just about the most legislation passed of any president, in a nine-month period, that’s ever served. We had over 50 bills passed. I’m not talking about executive orders only, which are very important. I’m talking about bills.”

The president also teased an economic development bill “which nobody knows about” that would include incentives for companies that kept jobs in America.

“It’s both a carrot and a stick,” Trump said. “It is an incentive to stay. But it is perhaps even more so – if you leave, it’s going to be very tough for you to think that you’re going to be able to sell your product back into our country.”