The president’s chief economic adviser Gary Cohn isn’t bothered that his boss thanked a long list of lawmakers and senior staff yesterday at a tax reform event and failed to mention him, a senior White House official insists.
Cohn is a ‘significant player’ on issues at the forefront of the president’s agenda, the official said this morning, downplaying the snub.
‘Gary certainly isn’t offended, and knows how important he is to the president on his tax reform package and other issues like infrastructure, obviously hurricane relief,’ the senior Trump aide posited.
Cohn, whose work directly impacts tax code changes, publicly upbraided the president last week over his comments following a race-riot death in Charlottesville, Virginia.
He’s said to have written a resignation letter after President Trump blamed ‘both sides’ for the violence but held on to it.
The president’s chief economic adviser Gary Cohn (left) isn’t bothered that his boss thanked a long list of lawmakers and senior staff yesterday at a tax reform event and failed to mention him, a senior White House official insists
Trump name-dropped other senior officials by name on Wednesday as he began a tax reform speech – and later mentioned his daughter Ivanka’s work on tax reform – but left out Cohn, even though he was in the audience.
In a litany that resembled an Academy Awards acceptance speech, he also name-checked six Republican members of Missouri’s congressional delegation who were at the Springfield speech: Sam Graves, Vicky Hartzler, William Long, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Jason Smith and Ann Wagner.
Trump also gave shout-outs to senior adviser Ivanka Trump, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Small Business Administration head Linda McMahon, Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and Lt. Gov. Michael Parson.
‘Anybody I forgot?’ Trump asked, surveying the room. ‘Good, I got it.’
President Donald Trump thanked more people than an Oscar winner on Wednesday as he began his tax reform speech in Missouri – but didn’t mention Cohn
Cohn (left), is working on the tax package but also criticized Trump loudly last week for his comments after the Charlottesville racial violence
Presidential adviser Ivanka Trump (left), Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (center, background) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin were all name-checked by Trump
Mnuchin and Cohn have shared responsibilities in crafting Trump’s tax overhaul plan, but only one of them merited a presidential mention.
Cohn, who is Jewish, told the Financial Times last week that after Trump claimed ‘both sides’ shared responsibility for the violence that broke out between neo-Nazis and counter-protesters, he felt ‘enormous pressure’ to quit.
‘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,’ Cohn said of white supremacists and Ku Klux Klan mobs.
‘As a patriotic American, I am reluctant to leave my post,’ he said, adding that ‘I also feel compelled to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks. … Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK.’
Trump’s tax speech relied heavily on Cohn, who is Jewish and considered quitting this month over Trump’s post-Charlottesville comments
Cohn is said to have drafted a resignation letter that he ultimately decided not to submit to the president.
The White House said later that Trump wasn’t surprised by Cohn’s interview.
‘The president … and Gary have spoken many times,’ White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters last Friday after the Financial Times story went viral.
‘Gary has not held back what his feelings are.’
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday on the ride home from Missouri that the president didn’t snub Cohn on purpose.
‘It’s pretty standard practice for us not to specifically call out staff. He regularly mentions Cabinet members but very rarely mentions staff in speeches,’ Sanders said.
Aboard Air Force One, Sanders argued that Trump ‘doesn’t necessarily call out National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster even though he plays a very integral role in that process’ when he talks about foreign policy in public.
‘Look, Gary is here. The President is here. They’re both working hard and extremely committed to providing tax relief for middle-class America,’ she concluded.
‘The President has made very clear this is a top priority for him, for his administration, and Gary is one of the people leading the charge in that effort for him and will continue to do that.’