- Drew Angerer/Getty Images
- Democratic senators were discussing tax reform with White House advisers when President Trump called in from Asia.
- When Trump would not stop talking, Sen. Tom Carper says Cohn fake a bad connection to end the call.
Gary Cohn, the White House’s director of the National Economic Council, reportedly faked a bad cellular connection with President Donald Trump to get him off a phone call with Democratic lawmakers, according to Sen. Tom Carper.
On CNN Wednesday morning, Carper said he and a handful of moderate Democratic senators were discussing common ground on tax policy with Cohn, White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short, and White House adviser Shahira Knight, when Trump called in from his recent trip to Asia.
“About 30 minutes into the call, Gary gets up and takes a call on his cell phone, comes back into the room and says, ‘we have somebody calling in from Asia’ and it was the president, which is nice,” Carper said. “It’s nice of him to do that.”
But Trump kept speaking, which Carper suggested was stymieing their conversation on tax reform.
“Fifteen minutes later the president is still talking and I said to Gary – we’re all siting around this big square table and I said, Gary why don’t you do this, why don’t you just take your cell phone back and just say ‘Mr. President, you’re brilliant but we’re losing contact and I think we’re gonna lose you now so goodbye,'” Carper said. “And that’s what he did and he hung up.”
When CNN anchor John Berman pressed the Delaware Democrat about if Cohn actually faked the bad connection to get Trump off the phone, Carper said, “Well, I wouldn’t – I don’t want to throw him under the bus, but yes.”
However, White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said in a statement that “Senator Carper’s claim is completely false,” adding, “Gary Cohn took the phone off speaker and continued to speak with the President privately for several minutes before they concluded the call.”