Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser who stood next to the president when he delivered his controversial remarks on the Charlottesville, Virginia, events, is speaking out for the first time. In a Financial Times interview Thursday, Cohn made his displeasure with Trump’s response public.
“Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the K.K.K.,” Cohn said in the interview. “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.”
According to the report, Cohn came under pressure from his family to resign from the Trump administration following the president’s comments, but after considering it and raising his concerns with Trump, he decided to stay. “As a Jewish American,” Cohn said in the interview. “I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting ‘Jews will not replace us’ to cause this Jew to leave his job.”
Cohn is the first Trump administration Jewish official to speak out against the president’s response to the neo-Nazi protest. Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin defended Trump’s response and David Shulkin, Veteran Affairs secretary, came out forcefully against the neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups but did not address Trump’s response.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Gary Cohn Criticizes Trump on Charlottesville