Appearing to suggest that President Trump did not represent "the American people's values" after the recent violence in Charlottesville, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday "the president speaks for himself".
In the immediate aftermath of the events in Charlottesville, where several anti-racist counter-demonstrators were injured and one was killed, the US became the subject of widespread worldwide scrutiny and drew criticism from the U.N.'s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
"I don't believe anyone doubts the American people's values or the commitment of the government or the government's agencies to advancing those values and defending those values", Tillerson told Chris Wallace on "Fox New Sunday", adding "the president speaks for himself".
Tillerson's comment to Wallace come just two days after Gary Cohn, the president's chief economic adviser, criticized Trump for his controversial response to the attacks in Charlottesville.
When Wallace then asked about the president's values, Tillerson gave a suggestive response.
The top U.S. diplomat added that no one should harbor doubts that the United States government is committed to long-standing American principles.
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The hearing was first scheduled for August 25, but was postponed to August 28, following the rising tension over the issue . Additional police had been deployed in Panchkula , Chandigarh and other towns in the region, NDTV news channel reported.
Tillerson's remarks followed harsh criticism of Trump from National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, who said in an interview Friday that he almost quit over the president's handling of the events in Charlottesville.
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.
In the past, Tillerson has come under fire for saying, as he did in May, that USA foreign policy should sometimes separate values such as freedom, human dignity and "the way people are treated" from policies it pursues around the world.
Trump has also ignored Tillerson's advice on some of his most important policy decisions, such as pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accord.
"The president speaks for himself", he said.
"I've made my own comments in a speech at the department of State", he slipped. "We have an American president who has emboldened white supremacists with messages of comfort and support". Rogers, an expert on former Nicaragua dictator Daniel Ortega, stated that he sees similarities between the United States leader and Latin American presidents who stay in power for extended periods.
Tillerson said the nation's commitment to fighting racial injustice was unquestioned.