WASHINGTON - US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday defended President Donald Trump’s response to bloodshed following a rally of white supremacists and neo-Nazis, rejecting calls from former Yale classmates that he resign from the administration in protest.

A group of 359 people from Mnuchin’s 1985 class at the Ivy League university had signed an open letter posted Friday, saying it was his “moral obligation to resign... because President Trump has declared himself a sympathizer with groups whose values are antithetical to those values we consider fundamental to our sacred honor as Americans, as men and women of Yale, and as decent human beings.”

Mnuchin responded Saturday that he “strongly” condemned those “filled with hate and with the intent to harm others.”

“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.