Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin responded to his Yale classmates over President Donald Trump’s remarks about the violence in Charlottesville.
“I don’t believe the allegations against the president are accurate,” Mnuchin wrote in a statement released on Saturday.
The treasury secretary denounced the outrage directed at the president, claiming that most of the anger was an attempt by his political enemies to smear him.
“Our president deserves the opportunity to propose his agenda and 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 wrote.
Over 300 of Mnuchin’s Yale class of 1985 signed a letter asking him to resign as Secretary of the Treasury in protest of the president’s response.
Mnuchin criticized the “mass media” for trying to simplify complicated issues of history, race, and culture, and pointedly noted Yale’s difficult history with race and slavery.
“Some of these issues are far more complicated than we are led to believe by the mass media, and if it were so simple, such actions would have been taken by other presidents, governors, and mayors, long before President Trump was elected by the American people,” he wrote.
Mnuchin also specifically cited his Jewish faith in his defense of the president.
“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,” he said.
Full statement below:
— Steven Mnuchin (@stevenmnuchin1) August 20, 2017