Trump’s Cabinet struggles with whether to defend their boss

Rex Tillerson_334120

FILE – In this Jan. 11, 2107 file photo, Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. said Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, that he will support Tillerson despite reservations about the former Exxon Mobil CEO as the Republican […]

WASHINGTON (AP) — Under intense pressure, members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet are struggling with whether to rebuke or defend him when he makes hard-to-defend comments such as his response to white nationalism in Charlottesville.

Some seek their distance, delicately taking issue with his remarks. Others decide it’s safer to stand by him. Most would rather say nothing at all.

Though the friction has been building for months, Trump’s polarizing response to Charlottesville was a catalyst. The fallout has continued to dog his administration more than two weeks later.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the latest administration member forced to take a position in a TV interview. He emphasized that the State Department and the American people hold values that are clear. But he also said that Trump “speaks for himself.”

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