Econ Adviser Almost Resigned Over Trump's Charlottesville Response

Lester Mason
August 25, 2017

Mr Cohn told the Financial Times that "citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK".

President Donald Trump will start publicly campaigning for the tax reform plan next week, chief economic advisor Gary Cohn said.

Trump failed to single out white supremacists for their role in the bloodshed, saying there was blame "on both sides", and that there were "very fine people" among the white supremacist protesters, who were opposing the removal of a statue honoring Civil War icon Robert E Lee.

On Thursday, before Cohn's interview was published, the New York Post printed a column from an editor denouncing "the obscene effort to shame 'Trump's Jews.'" While quotation marks were placed around the phrase "Trump's Jews", there was no attribution.

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. "But I also feel compelled to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks".

Mr Cohn, a major supporter of Jewish causes, faced strong criticism from some Wall Street colleagues and friends over his decision to stay.

Another Jewish-American in the administration, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, also faced calls to quit in the aftermath of Charlottesville, but has refused to do so, and has staunchly defended Trump.

The path on tax reform comes in contrast to early assertions from Trump and the White House that the West Wing would take the lead on crafting the plan.

"Starting next week the president's agenda and calendar is going to revolve around tax reform", Cohn said. Cohn is a former executive at Goldman Sachs.

The time frame for the plan's release is unclear, but administration and congressional officials have indicated they intend to release more details or a full plan in September. He met with Trump privately at the president's golf club in New Jersey last Friday. "I don't know how long it will take to actually mark up the bill, but I do think it can pass both of the tax committees and both chambers in 2017", Cohn said.

The president has said on several occasions that he condemns white-supremacist groups and believes all racist sentiment is "evil", but his own recounting of his words has omitted controversial phrases that aroused the most opposition - that "both sides" were responsible, or, as he said a day after the fatal auto attack, that "many sides" were involved.

Cohn is known to be interested in becoming chairman of the Federal Reserve and still sees that as a possibility. One person briefed on Mr. Cohn's discussions with the president said that Mr. Cohn had made clear to Mr. Trump how upset he was, and that he planned to be candid publicly about it if asked.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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