- The Washington Times - Friday, August 25, 2017

Top White House economic advisor Gary Cohn said the Trump administration needs to do a better job at “consistently and unequivocally” condemning hate groups that continue to divide the country.

Speaking in an interview Thursday with the Financial Times, Mr. Cohn said he faced “enormous pressure” from both sides in the aftermath of the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“I have come under enormous pressure both to resign and to remain in my current position,” he said.

Mr. Trump’s response to Charlottesville blaming “both sides” for the violence earlier this month that led to one woman’s death was followed by widespread backlash and a rash of resignations. Mr. Cohn, who leads the White House National Economic Council, met with President Trump privately last Friday and drafted a resignation letter amid the Charlottesville blowback, according to The New York Times.

Mr. Cohn explained Thursday that the administration’s response wasn’t strong enough and that it must do better at condemning hate.

“Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK,” he told the 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. As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting ‘Jews will not replace us’ to cause this Jew to leave his job.”

Mr. Cohn said he feels a duty to remain in his current position in order to serve the American people, but said he hasn’t been bashful with the president when it comes to speaking his mind.

“I am reluctant to leave my post as director of the National Economic Council because I feel a duty to fulfill my commitment to work on behalf of the American people,” he said. “But I also feel compelled to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks.

“This is a personal issue for each of us. We are all grappling with it. This takes time to grapple with,” he said.

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