Key Trump Adviser Delivers Public Rebuke to President

Gary Cohn says administration 'can and must do better' after Charlottesville
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2017 9:04 AM CDT
Trump's Top Financial Adviser Scolds Him Over Charlottesville
White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, right, talks to President Trump at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

President Trump just got publicly scolded by a key member of his administration over his response to Charlottesville. In an interview with the Financial Times, top financial adviser Gary Cohn said "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." Cohn said he felt pressure to resign after the president blamed "both sides" for the violence, but concluded, "I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting 'Jews will not replace us' to cause this Jew to leave his job." He added that he felt compelled to voice his "distress," however, because "citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK."

Cohn is a former Goldman Sachs exec who is respected on Wall Street, and Business Insider notes that mere rumors he would quit were blamed for sending the markets into a tizzy last week. Trump has previously signaled that Cohn might someday replace Janet Yellen as Fed chief, notes CNBC, but now the key question is how Trump will respond to the criticism. A source predicts to Axios that Trump will "explode" not only because he hates criticism from subordinates but because Cohn's comments undercut the president's claims that the media mischaracterized his Charlottesville response. Treasury chief Steven Mnuchin, also Jewish and also a former Goldman Sachs exec, took a different approach last week by defending Trump in a statement. (More Gary Cohn stories.)

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