Mnuchin defends Trump’s comments on Charlottesville, rebuffs calls to resign

“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, who is Jewish, said in a statement released by the Treasury Department.

.. A letter signed by about 300 members of the Yale class of 1985 argued that it was Mnuchin’s “moral obligation” to resign because Trump had “declared himself a sympathizer with groups whose values are antithetical to those values we consider fundamental to our sacred honor as Americans.”

.. But Mnuchin argued that Trump’s comments were misrepresented and pointed to an earlier statement in which he urged Americans to “condemn all that hate stands for.”

“Our President deserves the opportunity to propose his agenda and to do so without the attempts by those who opposed him in the primaries, in the general election and beyond to distract the administration and the American people from these most important policy issues — jobs, economic growth and national security,” Mnuchin said.