‘The President Speaks for Himself’

In Judiciary and Courts, New York Times Editorial On
- Updated

It should be among the easier tasks of a cabinet member to affirm, without hesitation, that the president he or she serves represents the values of the American people.

But that was more than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could muster during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” Asked by Chris Wallace whether President Trump’s morally vacuous response to the racist march and deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., made his job harder, Mr. Tillerson said, “I don’t believe anyone doubts the American people’s values or the commitment of the American government or the government’s agencies to advancing those values and defending those values.”

“And the president’s values?” Mr. Wallace asked. Mr. Tillerson replied, “The president speaks for himself, Chris.”

Coming from the man the president picked to represent the nation around the world, it was a stunning admission, devastating in its simplicity and painful in its accuracy.

Mr. Trump, we are reminded every day in ways we would not have imagined the day before, speaks and acts in the interests of himself and no one else.

That disturbing truth was nowhere more evident than in Mr. Trump’s pardon, late Friday night, of the former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, which he issued, in his cowardly way, as the nation was riveted to the impending landfall of Hurricane Harvey.

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