White House says Cohn will stay as resignation rumors shake Wall Street

Greg Nash

The White House shot down rumors Thursday that National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn had resigned over President Trump’s blame of “both sides” for deadly clashes in Charlottesville, Va., between white supremacists and counterprotesters.

“Gary intends to remain in his position as NEC Director at the White House,” the White House told reporters. “Nothing’s changed.”

Cohn, who is Jewish, was reportedly furious with Trump over his comments on Charlottesville, delivered at Tuesday press conference intended to focus on infrastructure. Cohn stood behind Trump as he blamed “alt-left” protesters for charging white nationalist and neo-Nazi protesters, some of whom the president called “very fine people.”

{mosads}Several media outlets reported Wednesday that Cohn considered resigning, and speculation flew Thursday morning that the former Goldman Sachs chief operating officer would leave his role as Trump’s chief economic adviser.

The White House declined to tell reporters if Trump and Cohn talked about the president’s remarks, telling the press pool, “We’re not going to comment on internal conversations.” 

Cohn’s rumored departure shook Wall Street, which considers the NEC director one of the few powerful White House pro-business influences countering chief strategist Stephen Bannon’s economic nationalism.

Yields for U.S. Treasury bonds and the value of the dollar sunk as speculation about Cohn mounted on Twitter. But markets recovered soon after journalists first reported that Cohn would stay.

Trump’s comments on Charlottesville triggered an uproar in the corporate world. Top executives staged a remarkable revolt against Trump on Wednesday, forcing the White House to disband two economic councils that were hemorrhaging members.

“You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say it, but I will say it right now,” Trump said on Tuesday.

“But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.” 


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