The Washington Post reports: An unprecedented rebuke of President Trump by National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn reverberated through Washington on Friday, forcing the White House to respond to harsh, public criticism from one of the president’s top advisers.
Cohn lashed Trump’s comments earlier this month blaming the violence in Charlottesville on “both sides,” saying in an interview with the Financial Times that “citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK.” The adviser, who is Jewish and has long given to Jewish causes, said that the administration “must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups.”
The criticism was the first serious public condemnation of Trump’s behavior by a member of his inner circle since the beginning of his presidency and raised the question of how a president who puts a heavy premium on loyalty would react.
Privately, a White House official said, Trump was furious about Cohn’s public airing, though publicly, White House officials, while defending the president’s response to the events in Charlottesville, acknowledged that the White House can always do more. [Continue reading…]
The New York Times reports: In the days after the Charlottesville rally, when Mr. Trump defended white nationalist protesters, Jewish members of the administration were mostly silent. Mr. Cohn is so far one of the few in the administration to publicly condemn the president’s remarks. Military leaders posted messages on social media denouncing neo-Nazis and racism, but did not specifically mention the commander in chief. Public deviation from the president by the military is unusual.
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. [Continue reading…]