Steven Mnuchin Defends Trump’s Reaction to Charlottesville Violence

“Rarely, if ever, have any of us made such a request of a classmate, whatever our differences in political opinion have been,” the group wrote in the letter. “We do so today because President Trump has declared himself a sympathizer with groups whose values are antithetical to those values we consider fundamental to our sacred honor as Americans, as men and women of Yale, and as decent human beings.”

Mr. Mnuchin stood uncomfortably next to Mr. Trump in the lobby of Trump Tower last week as the president said there were “very fine people on both sides” of the Charlottesville protests. The marchers in the initial rally on Friday night carried tiki torches and chanted, “Jews will not replace us.”

“We call upon you, as our friend, our classmate and as a fellow American, to resign in protest of President Trump’s support of Nazism and white supremacy,” Mr. Mnuchin’s classmates wrote. “We know you are better than this, and we are counting on you to do the right thing.”

Mr. Mnuchin responded that he was focused on a tax overhaul and stoking economic growth.

“I don’t believe the allegations against the president are accurate,” Mr. Mnuchin said of the denunciations of the president, “and I believe that having highly talented men and women in our country surrounding the president in his administration should be reassuring to you and all the American people.”

Mr. Mnuchin and Gary D. Cohn, the president’s top economic adviser, who is also Jewish and who was also at the news conference in Trump Tower, have come under public pressure to resign in the past few days.

Many of Mr. Trump’s advisers have privately said they are wrestling with whether to remain working for the president. But most say they believe they are fulfilling a duty by serving.

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