Rex Tillerson draws a line between American values and Trump's values

Posted August 28, 2017

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Sunday distanced himself - and the nation - from President Trump's response to the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va. implying it's out of step with American ideals.

Though Tillerson denied that Trump's rhetoric made it hard to defend American diplomacy overseas, he refused to deny that he was attempting to distance himself and the state department from Trump's comments.

WALLACE: And the presidents values?

Tillerson became the latest senior staffer to appear to separate himself from Trump's remarks over Charlottesville. "It's simply important to say [.] hat we all know hate is not an American value", Tillerson said at the time.

Trump has faced bipartisan criticism for his statements after violence in Charlottesville blaming "many sides" for the violence surrounding a white supremacist rally. Economic adviser Gary Cohn reportedly had drafted his resignation letter after Trump blamed "both sides" on the violence.

Tillerson did not invoke Trump or levy direct criticism then, but his discussion of "hate speech" just days after the Charlottesville rally made his meaning clear.

His slowness to hire key staff, micro-managerial tendencies, and willingness to accede to White House-proposed cuts have left the department feeling rudderless, according to many accounts.

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Tillerson says that the president is "speaking for himself" in political terms.

"We express America's values from the State Department". He affirmed that the State Department represents U.S. citizens, the values of the country, commitment to freedom, and the equal treatment of every person in the world.

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.

But then Wallace zeroed in on the weakness in that statement, pressing Tillerson to respond specifically to the United Nations panel's criticism of Trump.

And on Tuesday US President Donald Trump seized upon the lack of immediate North Korean missile tests as evidence that the country's leader Kim Jong Un "is starting to respect us".

"It shows a lack of understanding of the President's broader policy when it comes to protecting Americans at home and overseas from all acts of terrorism", Tillerson said.

In front of the students, the secretary of State had, on August 18, strongly "condemned the racism and bigotry in all their forms ".