Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently addressed State Department employees concerning the relationship between U.S. interests and U.S. "values," leading some to accuse him of abandoning the U.S. commitment to human rights. For example, The Atlantic ran a story with the headline "Rex Tillerson Doesn't Understand America." Yahoo News wrote that Secretary Tillerson had claimed that "pushing human rights abroad ‘creates obstacles' to U.S. interests."
Other headlines blared that "Tillerson downplays human rights in U.S. foreign relations" and "America bids adiós to role as world leader on human rights." Critics from his own party joined in the denunciation. Sen. John McCain claimed that by drawing a sharp distinction between American interests and American values, Tillerson was essentially discounting the latter.