Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin issued a formal response Saturday to both the Charlottesville protests and his former Yale University classmates’ call for his resignation.
Over 350 of Mnuchin’s college classmates urged him to resign Friday and accused President Donald Trump of supporting “Nazism and white supremacy.”
“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. We know you are better than this, and we are counting on you to do the right thing,” Mnuchin’s classmates wrote.
Mnuchin responded to his classmates Saturday, saying that he is proud to serve his country and that he does not, in any way, believe the president supports white supremacy or other hate groups.
“As someone who is Jewish, I believe I understand the long history of violence and hatred against the Jews (and other minorities), and the circumstances that give rise to these sentiments and actions,” Mnuchin wrote. “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 the perpetrators of violence in Charlottesville have “no defense” from him personally, “nor do they have any defense from the President or this administration.”
The secretary notably stood beside Trump Tuesday at a press conference at Trump Tower when the president gave his second statement following the protests. The president blamed the violent acts, which caused dozens of injuries and left one 32-year-old woman dead, on both white nationalist groups and counter-protestors, echoing his previous comments that the violence came from “many sides.”
Mnuchin said he hopes the letter gives those calling for his resignation “a better perspective” on how he feels about Charlottesville and serving in the administration.
“I hope you have a better perspective on my feelings on these issues. I don’t believe the allegations against the President are accurate, 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,” Mnuchin wrote. “As long as I am Treasury Secretary I will do the best job I can for the American people and provide the best advice I can to the President.”
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