A Democratic senator said Wednesday that White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn told President Trump he had a bad cell connection as an excuse to stop talking to Trump.
Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - US speeds evacuations as thousands of Americans remain in Afghanistan Biden finds few Capitol Hill allies amid Afghanistan backlash Trains matter to America MORE (D-Del.), who sits on the Senate Finance Committee, shared details of the meeting he attended with a group of moderate Democrats who discussed tax reform with Cohn and White House legislative affairs director Marc Short, while Trump joined by phone.
"I said to Gary, it was a room where we're all sitting around this big table, and I said, 'Gary, why don't you do this, just take the phone from, you know, your cellphone back and just say, Mr. President, you're brilliant. But we're losing contact, and I think we're going to lose you now, so good-bye.' And that's what he did and he hung up," Carper told CNN.
Carper said the group of Democratic senators were looking to find common ground with the administration on taxes.
"We went back to having the kind of conversation where we needed to, where they ask a questions, looking for consensus, looking for common ground, and I think we identified [that]," he said.
CNN host John Berman asked Carper to clarify if he was saying Cohn faked a bad connection to get the president off of the phone.
"Well I wouldn't ... I don't want to throw him under the bus, but yes," Carper replied.
The White House pushed back on Carper's claim on Wednesday, calling it false.
“Senator Carper’s claim is completely false. Gary Cohn took the phone off speaker and continued to speak with the president privately for several minutes before they concluded the call," White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah said in a statement to The Hill.
Carper revealed in an interview with The Hill earlier this month that he told Cohn to fake a bad connection during the call so the Democratic senators could "have a real conversation" with the Trump administration officials who attended the meeting.
However, Trump has said Democrats have been unwilling to work with their Republican counterparts, calling them "obstructionists."