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    Trump torpedoes diplomacy, proposes IQ test contest with Tillerson after secretary of state calls him a moron; Price resigns after private flight scandal


    Americas: United States


    Trump  torpedoes diplomacy, proposes IQ test contest with Tillerson after secretary of state calls him a moron; Price resigns after private flight scandal


    At the start of October 2017, President Donald Trump directly undercut United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's diplomatic mission. Tillerson had indicated he would attempt dialogue with North Korea, with an eye on diffusing escalating tensions and moving away from the nuclear war rhetoric and more towards solutions.  But Trump appeared to torpedo Tillerson's diplomatic effort before it was even started in earnest.


    Trump said via Twitter: “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man." In this way, Trump was again using the same derogatory nickname he previously used in regard to the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.  Making natters worse, Trump appeared to raise the specter of devastating nuclear war as he added, “Save your energy Rex. We’ll do what has to be done!”


    Matters of war and peace aside, Trump's undercutting of Tillerson highlighted a poor relationship between the president and his own top diplomat.  That relationship appeared to be on even shakier ground with the reports that Tillerson had referred to the president as a "moron" without a grasp of foreign policy issues, according to reports by NBC News, the Washington Post,  and other news sources.  


    While those reports were disputed by both the Trump and Tillerson camps, the "moron" reference appeared to have raised the ire of the president and reached the notice of the secretary of state.  


    Despite dismissing the reports as "fake news," Trump nevertheless felt compelled to prove his intellectual credentials by proposing an IQ contest between himself and Tillerson, which he suggested he [Trump] would win.  He declared, “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.”


    On the other side of the equation, while there was some pushback from the Tillserson camp about his characterization of the president, the State Department nevertheless thought it prudent to have its spokesperson report that Tillerson possessed  a “high” IQ. 


    In other developments related to the Trump administration, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price resigned at the start of October 2017.  At issue was a brewing scandal over his excessive use of private flights that cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. 


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