White House: Trump didn't mention Cohn in tax speech because he's staff

White House: Trump didn't mention Cohn in tax speech because he's staff
© Greg Nash

President Trump didn't mention economic adviser Gary Cohn in his tax reform speech on Wednesday because he's part of the White House staff, according to press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The significant absence in Trump's speech was marked in part because Cohn recently criticized Trump. But Sanders downplayed the lack of acknowledgement when asked.

"It's pretty standard practice for us not to specifically call out staff," Sanders said in a press gaggle aboard Air Force One after the president's speech. "He regularly mentions Cabinet members but very rarely mentions staff in speeches."

Trump began his remarks in Springfield, Mo., earlier in the day by acknowledging several Cabinet members and lawmakers who were at the event, and he later gave a shout-out to his daughter Ivanka Trump, who also works in the White House. But the president did not mention Cohn — the director of the White House National Economic Council and a key player in the administration's efforts to overhaul the tax code.


Cohn last week criticized Trump's remarks about white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va., telling The Financial Times that the White House "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."

Sanders said that Trump doesn't frequently mention White House staff in speeches and that acknowledging Ivanka is "a little bit different" because she's the president's daughter.

"A lot of times when he talks about foreign policy and different things like that, he doesn't necessarily call out national security adviser H.R. McMaster even though he plays a very integral role in that process," the press secretary said.

Sanders also said that Trump and Cohn are both dedicated to tax reform.

“Gary is here. The president is here. They're both working hard and extremely committed to providing tax relief for middle-class America,” she said. “The president has made very clear this is a top priority for him, for his administration, and Gary is one of the people leading the charge in that effort for him and will continue to do that.”