Notifications

Screenshot/The White House

Pass the popcorn! One of President Trump's top advisers is passively-aggressively criticizing his boss in print. Expect nasty tweets to fly momentarily.

Gary Cohn is the Director of the National Economic Council. He is also Jewish and apparently a human being in touch with the reality of the situation the country finds itself in after the president's reaction to the tragedy in Charlottesville. As he told the Financial Times in an interview that appeared on Friday:

“Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK. I believe 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. As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting 'Jews will not replace us' to cause this Jew to leave his job. I feel deep empathy for all who have been targeted by these hate groups. We must all unite together against them.”

Cohn does not directly criticize his boss, but if you think these comments were aimed at anyone else, I have a chain of delis on the Lower East Side to sell you.

Cohn also says he considered resigning and was under enormous pressure from his wife and various friends to do so, but he has apparently decided to stay on for the moment.

Compare Cohn's reaction to Treasury Secretary and Husband of a Brand Magnet Steve Mnuchin, who is also Jewish. Pressured in a letter signed by over 350 of his classmates from Yale to step down over the president's remarks, Mnuchin instead turned defensive:

The president in no way, shape or form, believes that neo-Nazi and other hate groups who endorse violence are equivalent to groups that demonstrate in peaceful and lawful ways." [...] As someone who is Jewish, I believe I understand the long history of violence and hatred against the Jews (and other minorities) and circumstances that give rise to these sentiments and actions.

Okay, a) The president might not believe it, but he still blamed “many sides” for the Charlottesville violence and then doubled down on it, and b) I'm sure the 350 people who signed the letter to you appreciated the condescension.

Cohn claims he has “not been bashful” in expressing his opinions on this topic to the president, but he still felt it necessary to go out of his way to give an interview on the subject in a magazine interview that could be described as one long subtweet of Donald Trump. Given the president's famous temper when he feels he has been upstaged, I'm imagining this will not go over well in the White House.

Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.