[Marxism] Gary Cohn urges Trump team to do more to condemn neo-Nazis

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Aug 25 11:57:45 MDT 2017


(The irony is that the economic programs he is implementing under Trump 
will deepen the rage of working-class whites who will fail to make the 
connection between their plight and the attack on them orchestrated by 
the two capitalist parties.)


FT, August 25 2017
Gary Cohn urges Trump team to do more to condemn neo-Nazis
by: Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington and Gillian Tett in New York


Gary Cohn, the top White House economic official, said the Trump 
administration “must do better” in condemning neo-Nazis and white 
supremacists following the violent protests in Charlottesville this 
month that sparked one of the biggest controversies of Donald Trump’s 
presidency.

Mr Cohn, a Jewish-American who was president of Goldman Sachs before 
becoming head of the White House national economic council, told the 
Financial Times he faced “enormous pressure” to quit after the uproar 
over Mr Trump’s reaction to the clashes in the Virginia university town 
that left one woman dead. The president first blamed “both sides” for 
the violence and later said that there were “very fine people” among the 
white supremacist groups.

“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,” Mr Cohn said in his 
first public comments on the issue.

Mr Cohn, who with Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin is leading the 
administration’s efforts to enact tax reform, seriously considered 
resigning, according to his friends, but opted to remain following 
conversations with Mr Trump.

“I have come under enormous pressure both to resign and to remain in my 
current position,” the former banker said during an interview about 
economic policy.

“As a patriotic American, I am reluctant to leave my post . . . because 
I feel a duty to fulfil my commitment to work on behalf of the American 
people. But I also feel compelled to voice my distress over the events 
of the last two weeks,” he said.

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

“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.”

While Mr Cohn urged the administration to confront racism more 
aggressively, almost all the criticism since Charlottesville has focused 
on Mr Trump, as many Republicans distanced themselves from the 
president’s response. During the past week, Mr Trump has alternated 
between trying to backtrack on his comments and accusing the media of 
having misrepresented his words.

Mr Cohn, a major supporter of Jewish causes, faced strong criticism from 
some Wall Street colleagues and friends over his decision to stay. But 
several chief executives, including some who resigned from the White 
House advisory council in protest over Charlottesville, urged him to 
remain in order to help promote a pro-business agenda in an 
administration in which he is seen as a mainstream official. “I really 
hoped he would stay and I told him that,” one chief executive said this 
week.

In the coming days, Mr Cohn and the White House will start a campaign to 
promote tax reform — a new focus that will delight business groups, 
which have become increasingly disappointed by the lack of tangible 
policy progress over the past seven months.
Asked whether his decision to remain in the administration was 
influenced by the recent firing of Steve Bannon, the former White House 
chief strategist with whom he clashed over policy, Mr Cohn replied, “No, 
my decisions are my own decisions.

“I have to do what is best for me and my family. I have had numerous 
private conversations with the president on this topic [and] I have not 
been bashful saying what I think.”

Mr Cohn said officials who had been upset by Mr Trump’s remarks — who 
reportedly included Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser and a 
former Goldman executive — had each taken their own decisions about how 
to respond. “This is a personal issue for each of us. We are all 
grappling with it. This takes time to grapple with.”

Mr Cohn was not the only official to face pressure. Mr Mnuchin, who is 
also a Jewish American, faced calls to resign from his Yale University 
classmates, who issued a public letter. But while he condemned racism, 
he vigorously defended the president.

“I feel compelled to let you know that 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,” 
Mr Mnuchin said last week.




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