While some members of various councils have stepped down, following President Trump’s controversial take on Charlottesville, and his seeming whitewash of the horrors of white nationalism, Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economics guru, is still hanging on.
In the immediate aftermath of Trump’s statements, however, Cohn, who is Jewish, was prepared to walk away, having drafted a resignation letter.
From the New York Times:
In his first public remarks on the national dialogue about the violence, Mr. Cohn said in an interview on Thursday with the Financial Times, that as a “patriotic American” he did not want to leave his job as the director of the national economic council. “But I also feel compelled to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks,” Mr. Cohn said.
Mr. Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides,” as Mr. Cohn stood nearby in the lobby of Trump Tower where the president made his remarks to reporters. After Mr. Trump left, Mr. Cohn stood uncomfortably fielding questions about the president’s statements, and he repeatedly declined to comment. At the time, people close to Mr. Cohn said he was disgusted and deeply upset by Mr. Trump’s comments.
I imagine so. A lot of people were upset at the characterization of racists and neo-Nazis as “fine people.”
“Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the K.K.K.,” Mr. Cohn said. “I believe this administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups and do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities.”
Mr. Cohn added, “As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting ‘Jews will not replace us’ to cause this Jew to leave his job.”
Except it wouldn’t be the marching, chanting clowns that would be the cause. It would be the support of those who ranted, “Jews will not replace us” by the president (your boss) that should have served as the impetus for packing your rags and kicking rocks.
Cohn has attempted to channel his energies into the upcoming tax reform bill. That’s noble, but it has to be difficult to be a Jew, working for someone who thinks there are redeeming qualities to be found within the fringe community of hate that was on display in Charlottesville.
In fact, Cohn’s wife cautioned him to consider leaving his position, following that fateful weekend.
Mr. Cohn came close to resigning, according to one of the people briefed on the discussions. He met with Mr. Trump privately at the president’s golf club in New Jersey last Friday, scrapping his plans to spend the evening at his second home in the Hamptons.
The markets were spooked last week amid fears that Mr. Cohn would resign, and United States stocks dropped until the White House denied the rumor. Mr. Cohn, who had spent his entire career in the trading world before joining Mr. Trump late last year, was deeply troubled by the market reaction, people close to him said.
Cohn has his sights set on becoming the chairman of the Federal Reserve, which may lend to his reluctance to walk.
In the meantime, he insists that he has been outspoken about his beliefs with the president, and says he intends to remain candid when asked about issues like Charlottesville.