Tillerson says Trump 'speaks for himself' on values

Tillerson says Trump 'speaks for himself' on values

On this weekend's broadcast of "Fox News Sunday", when asked about a United Nations committee criticism of President Donald Trump's reaction to the violence in Charlottesville, VA, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declined to discuss President Trump's values.

Tillerson said the State Department hasn't changed its commitment "to equal treatment to people the world over", he told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.

One person died and many more were injured when a suspect who demonstrated with white nationalists at a so-called Unite the Right rally rammed his vehicle into crowd of counter-protesters.

Wallace asked, "And the President's values?"

When Wallace then asked about the president's values, Tillerson gave a suggestive response.

That was a reference to remarks Tillerson made August 18 about inclusiveness and tolerance in a discussion of racial diversity and American values.

Mr Trump triggered outrage earlier this month when he suggested both sides were at fault after unrest in Charlottesville in which a woman was killed when a white supremacist drove his vehicle into a group of counter-protestors.

During a wild news conference at Trump Tower three days later, Trump blamed "both sides" for the deadly violence.




Rex Tillerson, usually discrete on the scene of domestic policy, has not explicitly denounced these statements.

For weeks now, commentators have been noting that "where Trump zigs, Tillerson zags" (paywall), which according to many has put him next in line to be added to the growing list of key Trump hires to have been kicked out of the White House already.

"I don't know that we're wrong", Tillerson said of his earlier assessment. "Racism is evil; it is antithetical to America's values".

Eliot Cohen, a former counsellor at the State Department, wrote on Twitter that it sure looked like the "Secretary of State just tossed the president of the United States under the bus".

Tillerson's comments stop far short of the kind of condemnation that a handful of other Trump allies have leveled over the president's embrace of neoconfederate hate groups. He affirmed that the State Department represents USA citizens, the values of the country, commitment to freedom, and the equal treatment of every person in the world.

The influential chief economic adviser to Donald Trump, Gary Cohn, has criticized the president this week, judging that he had to "do better" to condemn the white supremacist.

The leaders of Britain and Germany had previously said in response to Charlottesville that violence and bigotry must always be condemned.

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