President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Tuesday after meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office at the White House. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 10 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump met with Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office on Tuesday, calling the former secretary of state a "man of immense, talent, experience and knowledge."
Kissinger, who worked under former Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, has been advising Trump on foreign policy matters since his presidential campaign. The president conferred with Kissinger at the White House in May, the same day he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Trump and Kissinger met twice in New York before he became president.
"Henry Kissinger has been a friend of mine," Trump told reporters with Kissinger, 94, Tuesday. "I've liked him. I've respected him. But we've been friends for a long time, long before my emergence into the world of politics, which has not been too long."
The meeting comes as Trump nears decisions on the Iran nuclear deal and North Korea's nuclear capabilities.
"We've made a lot of progress in the Middle East with ISIS and so many other things," Trump said. "It's a much calmer place. But, Henry, I say often, I inherited a mess, but we're fixing it."
Kissinger said "it's always a great honor to be in this office, and I'm here at a moment when the opportunity to build a constructive, peaceful world order is very great. And the president is leaving on a trip to Asia, which I think will make a big contribution to progress and peace and prosperity."
On Tuesday, Trump reiterated that he still has confidence in Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who supposedly called the president a "moron," according to a recent NBC News report. In a recent Forbes interview, Trump said he could top Tillerson on an IQ test.
When asked whether he "undercut" Tillerson with the IQ comment, Tillerson said: "I did not undercut anybody. I don't believe in undercutting anybody."
Later Tuesday during the presidential briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders said "the president certainly never implied that the secretary of state was not incredibly intelligent. He made a joke, nothing more than that."
Earlier this month, while Tillerson was attempting diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, Trump tweeted that Tillerson "was wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man."
Four days after the comment, Sanders said Thursday that the "president can't undercut his own Cabinet. The president is the leader of the Cabinet. He sets the tone, he sets the agenda. And I think that question makes no sense because of that."