Trump Challenged Rex Tillerson To An IQ Test In A Revealing 'Forbes' Interview
Recently, Donald Trump sat down with Forbes to talk about his presidency, the economy, and a lot of other oddities, too. Out of this talk came a report published Tuesday morning that tries to explain Trump's dealmaking win-or-lose worldview, his bravado and salesmanship, and his penchant for exaggeration. Oh, and in the Forbes interview, Trump challenged Rex Tillerson to an IQ test. But it's not just a few curious quotes in this report. Looking at numbers and negotiations, it can help you better understand Trump.
In the article — entitled "Inside Trump's Head: An Exclusive Interview With the President, And The Single Theory That Explains Everything" — Forbes journalist Randall Lane asked the president what he thought about Tillerson's reported comment that the president is a "f*cking moron," a claim that Tillerson himself hasn't explicitly denied, though he tried to temper it. Trump mostly brushed it off and joked:
But the competition that underlies that joke is all too real. Lane delves into how the president sees things, that there's always a winner and always a loser, something that has stemmed from Trump's time in win-lose businesses based on out-negotiating one's business partner.
For example, Trump told Forbes that he has a big economic development plan in the works, and it will reward companies for staying in the United States, and punish them for going overseas — a big swing from typical Republican ideology. But Trump sees it as a contest.
The negotiating comes into play with his seeming willingness to buddy up to Democrats on issues like a DACA replacement, the debt ceiling, or even healthcare reform:
The same thing happens with negotiating for a corporate tax rate. He's now saying 20 percent after talking about 15 percent. "I was actually saying 15 for the purpose of getting to 20," Trump tells Lane, referencing upcoming negotiations.
According to Lane's view of the president, using concrete numbers like that helps Trump with the argument, and even later declare victory — even if the details don't always line up completely. Take the current economic numbers. "So GDP last quarter was 3.1 percent. Most of the folks that are in your business, and elsewhere, were saying that would not be hit for a long time. You know, Obama never hit the number," Trump tells Lane, who quickly explains that yes, the economy under Obama hit that number several times.
Trump had an answer for that.
But winning the argument may not always be best for the American people, or its standing in the world — neither of those issues seem to matter as much to Trump as the negotiation, and him coming out on top. The article explores that with Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate deal, something other nations will see as inconsistent, as well as the administration's management of the Affordable Care Act exchanges.
Lane pointed out that Obamacare is now Trump's responsibility; he acknowledges that, kind of.
But not to worry, according to the way Lane sees Trump. Just with one big hitch: Everything will be fine as long as negotiations and numbers always play out in not just the country's best interest — but in Trump's favor too.