WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated Sunday that President Donald Trump's values should be considered separate from America's values when it comes to race, appearing to repudiate the president's response to violence at a white supremacist march in Virginia.
Trump's statement condemning the "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides" in Charlottesville drew criticism that he was morally equating neo-Nazis with the individuals protesting against them.
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Tillerson said the nation's commitment to fighting racial injustice was unquestioned.
"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," he said.
When asked about Trump's values, Tillerson said "the president speaks for himself."
Tillerson was the second White House official in recent days to appear to more explicitly criticize Trump.
Last week, Trump's top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, sharply denounced the president's response, telling the Financial Times that he wrote a letter of resignation but never submitted it. Some other White House officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have defended Trump.
Trump's response to the Charlottesville violence earlier this month also prompted a rebuke from a top United Nations body on racial discrimination, which urged the United States to "unequivocally and unconditionally" reject racist hate speech and crimes after the rally in Virginia and called on Trump to take the lead.
Tillerson previously condemned hate speech and bigotry more broadly as un-American and antithetical to the values on which the U.S. was founded and promotes abroad.
Violence in Charlottesville, Va.
- Charlottesville suspect arrested in Georgia to be extradited
- Rally sparks reflection on race, equality in Charlottesville
- Tillerson says Trump 'speaks for himself' on racial violence
- Economic adviser knocks Trump's response to Charlottesville
- Violence in Charlottesville leads to soul-searching at ACLU
- Charlottesville covers Confederate statue with black shroud
- Trump blames media for condemnation of comments on Virginia [video]
- Memphis council weighing steps to remove Confederate statues
- Cooper: Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery gesture unnecessary, empty
- NAACP plans vigil to rally support for removal of Confederate statue at Hamilton County Courthouse
- Smith: Reject the violence, intimidation; it's not speech
- Anger boils over at Charlottesville, Va., council meeting
- Sohn: Our monumental anger needs healing
- Cooper: Is there an end to sanitizing?
- Kennedy: Embers of war can reignite
- Sohn: Thank you, Sen. Corker, for brave words
- OPINION: Events in Charlottesville begin to reverberate in Chattanooga
- Charlottesville exposes new threat for college campuses
- Sohn: Let Trump race-shock give way to resolve
- Hundreds attend rally in Coolidge Park; passionate, peaceful debate ensues [video, photos]
- Trump defends Confederate statues, berates his critics
- Confederate monuments removed or vandalized across the U.S.
- Corker condemns Virginia death as 'act of terror,' steers clear of Trump flap
- Greeson: Can we draw a line in the sand or water?
- Defiant Trump renews criticism of 'both sides' in protest
- Charlottesville, Va., to mourn woman killed at rally in memorial
- Mojo Burrito fires employee who went to Charlottesville, Va., rally
- Corker urges state lawmakers to remove bust of KKK leader from Capitol
- Trump blames 'both sides' for Charlottesville
- Hate-watch groups agree rally was largest in decade or more
- Trump speaks on Charlottesville: 'Racism is evil'
- Charlottesville violence fuels calls for removal of Forrest bust from state Capitol
- Officer on fatal Charlottesville crash: 'Hahahaha love this'
- Troopers killed in Charlottesville helicopter crash had close ties to East Tennessee
- Chattanoogans react to Charlottesville protests [photos]
- Friends of Chattanooga man arrested in Virginia claim he was fighting white supremacy
- Experts: Violence the result of political pressure cooker
- One of three arrested during Charlottesville rally is from Chattanooga
- Trump condemns bigotry, blames 'many sides' for violent clashes in Virginia
- White nationalist rally in Virginia brings violence
- The latest on the violent white nationalist rally being held in Charlottesville, Virginia
- Chaos boils over at what is believed to be the largest gathering of white nationalists this decade