President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, should be fired immediately for publicly criticizing the president, Roger Stone, a longtime Trump confidante, told LifeZette Friday.
Cohn, the chairman of the National Economic Council, aired his disappointment with Trump’s reaction to a racist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12 that turned deadly.
"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 told the Financial Times for a Friday story.
Cohn had long been rumored to have been upset since Trump's surprise press conference in Trump Tower on August 16, when Trump insisted "both sides" were to blame for the violence. The violence resulted in the death of one counterprotester and indirectly led to the deaths of two state police officers on air patrol.
Cohn admitted the rumors were true and that he had come under outside pressure to resign.
"I have come under enormous pressure both to resign and to remain in my current position," Cohn said. "As a patriotic American, I am reluctant to leave my post. But I also feel compelled to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks. Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK."
Both Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who is also Jewish, have come under criticism for remaining in Trump's administration. The Washington Post's columnist, Dana Milbank, even suggested last week the men were "court Jews."
"White House staff never criticizes the president or the administration in public ... His comments are both disloyal and unprofessional."
The pressure has worked to a degree. Cohn reportedly prepared a letter of resignation at the urging of his wife and friends, according to The New York Times.
Trump prizes loyalty through thick and thin, so Cohn's criticisms may force Trump's hand. In a series of texts to LifeZette, Stone said it should.
"He should be fired immediately," said Stone. "White House staff never criticizes the president or the administration in public. Gary serves at the pleasure of the president. His comments are both disloyal and unprofessional."
Cohn was reportedly brought on board by Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law. A former chief executive of Goldman Sachs, Cohn soon earned the wrath of conservatives and loyalists, who nicknamed him "Globalist Gary."
Cohn urged Trump to keep the nation a participant in the Paris climate accord, but Trump took the United States out of it after his late May trip to Europe. Cohn is also known for lobbying Trump to stay away from his instincts on free trade.
Cohn's divergent views on trade caused him to repeatedly clash with Steve Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist.
But Cohn and Mnuchin have embraced Trump's bold tax reform plan, which would cut the top corporate tax rate to 15 percent, and reduce the number of individual tax brackets to three.
Cohn now faces the lion's wrath. And the media reacted strongly to Cohn's remarks, playing up the internal division.
"It's got all the ingredients to enrage the president: a subordinate criticizing him, and an effective endorsement of how the mainstream media portrayed the events," wrote Axios on Friday morning. "The way Trump will see it, Cohn is siding with the fake news."
At Friday's press briefing, Mnuchin denied that Trump meant to equate the hate groups with counterprotesters, and that Cohn was thinking of leaving.
"His number-one focus is working on tax reform with me," said Mnuchin.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary, took a few questions on the Cohn interview, too. She said, for example, that 95 percent of the Financial Times interview was on tax reform.
(photo credit, homepage and article images: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)
Last Modified: August 25, 2017, 9:40 pm