WASHINGTON — The White House on Sunday defended President Trump’s divisive pardon of a former Arizona sheriff who had engaged in racial profiling, even as cracks began to appear within the administration over the president’s response to white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

As the outcry over Trump’s leadership on race continued to mount, his secretary of state and a top homeland security adviser appeared to distance themselves from the president’s post-Charlottesville remarks, in contrast to the full-throated defense most administration officials had previously offered.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” was asked about a United Nations panel’s recent criticism of the U.S. over its failure at “the highest political level” to “unequivocally reject and condemn … racist violent events.”

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which normally confines its concerns to the actions of dictators or groups such as the Islamic State, did not mention Trump by name, but its statement clearly referred to this month’s white-supremacist march in Charlottesville and its deadly aftermath.

A 32-year-old paralegal, Heather Heyer, was killed Aug. 12 when a car plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters; a 20-year-old Ohio man described as a Nazi sympathizer, James Alex Fields Jr., has been charged in the killing.

Asked about the U.N. panel’s statement, Tillerson said he did not believe “anyone doubts the American people’s values” with respect to combating racism. But pressed by interviewer Chris Wallace as to whether Trump shared those values, Tillerson replied: “The president speaks for himself.”

When Wallace queried him about whether he was separating himself from Trump’s views, Tillerson again offered distancing language, saying “I have made my own comments” as to American values on race and racism.

Trump places a premium on personal loyalty, and his aides tend to staunchly defend him even under the most controversial circumstances.

But amid the fresh furor over the man Trump calls “Sheriff Joe,” the former top lawman in Arizona’s Maricopa County, the White House homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, seemed to contradict Sunday the president’s contention that there had been “very fine people” marching among the white supremacists in Charlottesville.

Asked about that characterization, Bossert said: “I think you’ll have to ask the president how he wanted to parse” the march participants. “I’d ask you to ask the president for clarification,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Queried about his own opinion of those hurling racial invective while marching with Confederate banners, Bossert said: “I don’t think anyone chanting those things is a ‘very fine person’ – period.”

He did defend the overall tenor of Trump’s remarks condemning racism, however.

“I can’t be clearer,” the homeland security adviser said after trying to return the conversation to the administration’s response to the hurricane that hit Texas. “I think the administration’s been clear.”

The remarks from Tillerson and Bossert follow a more blunt criticism last week from Gary Cohn, Trump’s economic adviser, who told the Financial Times that the administration “must do better” at condemning racism.