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Trump slammed by member of his team on Charlottesville

Cohn, who is Jewish, had felt distressed by Trump’s saying that there were “very fine people” among the white nationalists who had marched in Charlottesville.

world Updated: Aug 26, 2017 08:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Washington
President Donald Trump,Charlottesville,Gary Cohn
File photo of White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn.(Reuters)

In a rare public criticism of President Donald Trump’s equivalence on the Charlottesville clashes, his chief economic adviser Gary Cohn said “this administration can and must do better” in “consistently and unequivocally” condemning white nationalist groups.

Cohn, who is Jewish, had felt distressed by Trump’s saying that there were “very fine people” among the white nationalists who had marched in Charlottesville chanting “Jews will not replace us”.

“Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK,” Cohn told Financial Times. “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.”

He confirmed he had been under “tremendous pressure both to resign and remain”. He chose to stay because “I feel a duty to fulfil my commitment to work on behalf of the American people”.

But, he added, “I also feel compelled to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks.”

Cohn has conveyed his feeling to Trump as well.

Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is also Jewish, had come under similar pressure but he chose to defend Trump, saying: “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.”

Trump’s remarks have led to the shutting down of two advisory councils appointed by him on business and economy, forced by resignations from its members, most of whom were America’s top CEOs.

First Published: Aug 26, 2017 08:24 IST