Gary Cohn, the former chief operating officer at Goldman Sachs who is now President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, is said to be incredibly upset over Trump’s press conference Tuesday in which he defended his original statement regarding the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Multiple reports following Trump’s press conference said Cohn, who is Jewish, was troubled by Trump’s statements over the past few days regarding white nationalists’ role in the violence in Charlottesville.
The New York Times’ Glenn Thrush cited three anonymous sources as saying Cohn was “upset” and “disgusted” by Trump’s freewheeling press conference at Trump Tower.
During the press conference, Trump said there were “two sides to a story” of what happened in Charlottesville, and he placed some of the blame on what he called the “alt-left” while refusing to categorically condemn the protesters, one of whom is charged with driving a car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing a women.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike were quick to condemn Trump’s statements.
Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan of the news website Axios reported on Wednesday that Cohn was “somewhere between appalled and furious.”
White-nationalist groups and blogs, including The Daily Stormer and National Vanguard, have targeted Cohn for his Jewish heritage and what they call his “globalist” economic beliefs on trade.
Cohn stood at the president’s side in Trump Tower on Tuesday and took questions regarding the original intent of the press conference – infrastructure investment – after Trump left the podium.
The Times’ Maggie Haberman also reported that Cohn was upset with the president but said that he planned to remain in the administration. Haberman tweeted that Cohn would stay in part out of fear that tax reform and other parts of the GOP agenda would be “stalled permanently” if he were to depart. A desire to say would seem to make it unlikely that he would publicly cross Trump on the president’s latest comments.
Cohn has been a champion of tax reform and deregulation efforts within the White House since taking over as chair of the National Economic Council. The former Goldman banker has also reportedly been a more moderate voice in the Oval Office and was repeatedly floated as a possible candidate for chief of staff earlier in the year.
Cohn is also considered the frontrunner to replace Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve when her term expires in February.