President Donald Trump and chief economic adviser Gary Cohn are not in a good place right now.
That’s according to a New York Times report in which current and former administration officials said the president was using some familiar tactics to communicate his displeasure with Cohn, who apparently found himself on Trump’s bad side last month after he criticized the way the president handled the fallout from a deadly white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Cohn, in his first public comments on Charlottesville on August 25, said Trump “must do better” to condemn white nationalists and white supremacists. Cohn told the Financial Times, “Citizens standing for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK.”
His remarks were a departure from assertions that Trump made just days prior, in which the president said there were some “very fine people” among the white supremacists at the Charlottesville rally, where one man was facing criminal charges for driving a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman.
Trump has remained unhappy with Cohn weeks later, and he’s showing it in his signature way – by “refusing to make eye contact with Mr. Cohn,” and essentially pretending Cohn doesn’t exist, which is Trump’s “most cutting insult,” The Times’ Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush wrote.
The development follows the turbulent ebbs and flows that have been characteristic of the White House since Trump took office. Chief of Staff John Kelly, who was installed in July, has sought to stabilize the West Wing, in part by removing some of its mercurial figures, like Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka.
Kelly himself has reportedly hit rough patches with Trump as he implemented new controls in the West Wing. The retired Marine general girded himself after Trump lashed out at him in one recent exchange. Kelly was incensed by Trump’s bite and told colleagues he wouldn’t condone the same treatment in the future.