In a surprising but telling moment, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson rebuked Donald Trump's racism and hateful remarks, insisting that he and the State Department do not agree with Trump, and that "The president speaks for himself."
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a stunning rebuke to his own president, distancing himself and the United States Department of State from Donald Trump’s defense of white supremacists.
Referring to Trump’s remarks in the wake of the white supremacist terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a United Nations warning about racism emanating from Trump, Tillerson told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that “we express America’s values from the State Department.”
More notably, Tillerson stated clearly, “The president speaks for himself.”
After the attack, Trump equated white supremacists to peaceful protesters, insisting that “many sides” were responsible for the violence, when Heather Heyer was killed specifically due to the actions of the white supremacist who drove into a crowd of protesters.
Trump also said that those protesting with neo-Nazis and KKK supporters were “very fine people.”
Trump’s remarks so incensed Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, that she now says she will not talk to Trump and will not forgive him for his racist remarks.
And apparently, Trump’s own Secretary of State wants nothing to do with the comments, either.
WALLACE: Does that make it harder for you to push American values around the world, when some foreign leaders question the president’s values?
TILLERSON: Chris, we express America’s values from the State Department. 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.
WALLACE: And when the president gets into the kind of controversy he does and the U.N. committee responds the way it does, it seems to say, they begin to doubt our — whether we’re living those values.
TILLERSON: I don’t believe anyone doubts the American people’s values, or the commitment of the American government, or the government’s agencies to advancing those values and to defending those values.
WALLACE: And the president’s values?
TILLERSON: The president speaks for himself, Chris.
WALLACE: Are you [pauses] separating yourself from that, sir?
TILLERSON: I’ve spoken — I’ve made my own comments as to our values as well in a speech I gave to the State Department this past week.
Trump has continued to defend his response to the attack, insisting in a late-night rant that he responded perfectly to the attack, blaming the media for the criticism he has received.
But considering Trump followed up his words after Charlottesville with the pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been convicted of racial profiling against Latinos, Trump’s complaints about accusations of racism hold no water.
But despite Tillerson’s bold statement, it is impossible to separate the State Department and Tillerson’s office from Trump. When the president embraces racism, it gives the blessing of the entire government and the nation to the worst impulses of mankind.
Trump’s racism taints all Americans.