Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin defended his boss to his former Yale classmates on Saturday, saying President Trump did not think hate groups were equivalent to peaceful counterprotesters who demonstrated in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.
“While I find it hard to believe I should have to defend myself on this, or the president, I feel compelled to let you know that the president in no way, shape, or form, believes that neo-Nazi and other hate groups who endorse violence are equivalent to groups that demonstrate in peaceful and lawful ways,” Mnuchin said in a statement.
The treasury secretary was responding to a letter, which was signed by nearly 300 of his former Yale classmates, which pressured him to resign over Trump’s controversial remarks about Charlottesville.
The letter says Mnuchin has a “moral obligation” to leave his role in Trump’s cabinet.
“I don’t believe the allegations against the president are accurate, and I believe that having highly talented men and women in the country surrounding the president in his administration should be reassuring to you and the American people. As long as I am Treasury secretary, I will do the best I can for the American people and provide the best advice I can to the president,” Mnuchin concluded.
Trump further ignited controversy on Tuesday when he said there was violence on “both sides” of the protests in Charlottesville that were triggered by a white supremacist rally. Clashes at the event resulted in one death and more than a dozen injured.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at the — as you say, the alt-right?” Trump asked Tuesday.
“Do they have any semblance of guilt? What about the fact they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. As far as I am concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day,” the president said during a press conference in Trump Tower, which was also attended by Mnuchin.