Urged by his Yale University classmates to resign as treasury secretary following President Donald Trump’s response to a white nationalist protest, Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday he would stay in office and that Trump “in no way, shape or form” equates neo-Nazis with peaceful protesters.
Mnuchin stood beside the president at a Tuesday news conference as Trump blamed violence in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend on not just white nationalist rally organizers but also counter-protesters, and said there were “very fine people” among both groups.
A letter, dated Aug. 18 and signed by more than 350 members of the Yale class of 1985, argued it was Mnuchin’s “moral obligation to resign” immediately.
Mnuchin issued a statement on Saturday responding to his classmates.
“I strongly condemn the actions of those filled with hate and with the intent to harm others,” he said. “They have no defense from me nor do they have any defense from the president or this administration.”
Mnuchin, who is Jewish, added: “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.”—Reuters