Published: Mon, August 28, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Rex Tillerson Won't Say If Trump 'Speaks For American Values'

Rex Tillerson Won't Say If Trump 'Speaks For American Values'

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday appeared to distance himself from President Donald Trump's statements on deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, saying "the president speaks for himself" on American values.

Asked on Fox News if Mr Trump's stance had made it harder for Washington's top diplomat to promote U.S. values around the world, Mr Tillerson said: "We represent the American people, their commitment to freedom and to equal treatment to people the world over, and that message has never change".

A statement Wednesday by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination cited "the failure at the highest political level to unequivocally reject racist violent events", in the United States.

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

When asked about that, Tillerson tried to act like Trump is just a guy talking, and not the president of the United State of America. 'We represent the American people. But his words are particularly hard-hitting when you consider that they came mere days after economic adviser Gary Cohn said he drafted a resignation letter because he was so upset by Trump's post-Charlottesville remarks. Notably, Tillerson was quick to put Trump's threats of "fire and fury" against North Korea into perspective, reassuring Americans that there was no imminent threat of a nuclear war. Trump was widely criticized for his response to the racially motivated violence in Charlottesville, in which he said "both sides" - white supremacists and those protesting them - were responsible for the clashes that left one woman dead and dozens injured.

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White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said after the Cohn interview was published that nobody "was surprised" by his comments.

"I'm not involved in how the president constructs his tweets, when he tweets, why he tweets, what he tweets", Tillerson said during a trip to Australia and New Zealand.

In that speech earlier this month, Tillerson delivered a condemnation of both hate and those who "protect or accept hate speech" in any form - a sharp contrast with the comments made by Trump.

Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of State, has called North Korea's most recent missile launch a "provocative act", but said the US will continue to seek a peaceful resolution with Kim Jong-un's regime. "Our commitment to freedom, our commitment to equal people the world over, and that message has never changed". The State Department said in July that Tillerson needed to take "a little time off", but would not resign.

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