Mr. Trump, who hosted âThe Apprenticeâ on NBC for 14 seasons, dismissed Mr. Corker on Tuesday by mocking his height and suggesting he had somehow been conned. âThe Failing @nytimes set Liddleâ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation,â Mr. Trump wrote. âWas made to sound a fool, and thatâs what I am dealing with!â
In labeling Mr. Corker âliddle,â the president was evidently returning to a theme. He considered Mr. Corker for secretary of state during the transition after last yearâs election but was reported to have told associates that Mr. Corker, at 5-foot-7, was too short to be the nationâs top diplomat. Instead, Mr. Trump picked Rex W. Tillerson, who is several inches taller but whose own relationship with the president has deteriorated to the point that he was said to have called Mr. Trump a âmoron.â
Mr. Tillerson initially did not deny it, but later he had a spokeswoman insist that he did not say it. Mr. Trump chose to believe the denial, or at least said he did, but in an interview published Tuesday, he insisted that even if it was true, he could prove that he was actually smarter than his secretary of state.
âI think itâs fake news,â Mr. Trump told Forbes magazine. âBut if he did that, I guess weâll have to compare I.Q. tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.â
Mr. Trump later denied that he had demeaned his secretary of state. âI didnât undercut anybody. I donât believe in undercutting people,â he told reporters, in a comment that must have amused the many people he has undercut since taking office. Asked if he still had confidence in Mr. Tillerson, Mr. Trump said simply, âYes.â
At the time, Mr. Trump was sitting next to Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state who happened to be visiting the Oval Office on Tuesday. To be sure, Mr. Kissinger would hardly tower over Mr. Corker on the basketball court, but Mr….