Gary Cohn came close to resigning in the wake of President Donald Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to new reports, and he said Friday that he faced “enormous pressure” both to leave and stay in his post.
Cohn even went as far as to draft a letter of resignation, according to a report from the New York Times’ Eileen Sullivan and Maggie Haberman.
Cohn was pressured to leave the White House by business associates from his time as second-in-command at Goldman Sachs, according to the report, and his wife even urged him to think about leaving. Markets were spooked last week about Cohn’s possible departure until the White House denied he was considering resigning.
In an interview with the Financial Times published Friday, Cohn acknowledged the pressure.
“I have come under enormous pressure both to resign and to remain in my current position,” Cohn said before explaining why he chose to stay.
Cohn met with Trump in New Jersey last Friday, according to The New York Times, and ultimately decided to remain in his position. As the driver on tax reform, Cohn is expected to play a big part in the upcoming push from the president on the issue.
Cohn, who is Jewish, has frequently been a target of many on the far right for what are seen as “globalist” economic policies, including an inclination toward free trade.
Cohn told the FT that the president must do better “in consistently and unequivocally condemning” groups like the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists.
Cohn, however, struck a defiant tone in the FT interview. He said he would not be bullied by hate groups into quitting.
“As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting ‘Jews will not replace us’ to cause this Jew to leave his job,” he said.
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