Rex Tillerson keeps distance from Donald Trump's race row stance

Posted August 28, 2017

Appearing on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that President Trump "speaks for himself" on American values, in what appeared to be a rebuke to his boss.

WALLACE: Does that make it harder for you to push American values around the world when some foreign leaders question president's values?

Wallace then asked, 'And the president's values?'

When asked what Trump's values are, Tillerson replied, "The President speaks for himself".

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"It's simply important to say - although I think it's well understood and embraced, I'm certain, by everyone in this room - we all know hate is not an American value, nowhere is it an American value", the top U.S. diplomat said.

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 auto into a group of counter-protestors.

Trump, in the aftermath, denounced neo-Nazis and the KKK, but his argument that "both sides" in the violent protests were to blame has brought widespread criticism. Now, Rex Tillerson, too, has turned on Trump over his comments.

Tillerson was more blunt in his scolding of Sebastian Gorka, the deputy assistant to Trump who left his White House position on Friday. This week, the UN's Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination blasted both Trump's comments and the broader state of racially tinged violence in America.

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Tillerson is rumoured to be considering an early exit from the administration, though the state department has denied reports of his potential departure. "We represent the American people, we represent America's values, our commitment to freedom, our commitment to equal treatment of people the world over and that message has never changed". "This administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups and do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities", Cohn told the Financial Times.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself and the fake news.

"I have spoken", Tillerson said.

The document never actually mentioned Trump by name but it did call on "the government of the United States of America, as well as high-level politicians and public officials, to unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn racist hate speech and crimes in Charlottesville and throughout the country".

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