The White House on Thursday said National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn is not looking to depart the West Wing, despite reports that he was distressed about President Donald Trump’s inflammatory statements on race relations.
A White House official said Cohn “is focused on his responsibilities as NEC Director and any reports to the contrary are 100% false.”
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“Nothing has changed,” the official said.
According to Maggie Haberman, The New York Times reporter who shared the White House’s new comments with reporters, “The White House initially said he intended [to] stay, then offered a clear – albeit on background – statement about reports that he is planning to resign or has resigned.”
Cohn was reportedly displeased to see Trump double down on his original statement that “both sides” — a group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis protesting the removal of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s statue as well as a set of counterprotesters — were responsible for violence that occurred last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Cohn stood beside Trump on Tuesday as the president spoke from the lobby of Trump Tower in New York about a series of topics reporters raised, including his response to Charlottesville. Trump was scheduled to deliver a brief statement on infrastructure, and aides did not know he would speak extensively about race issues.
It’s unclear whether Trump and Cohn have spoken since Tuesday, and the White House declined to comment “on internal conversations.”