The president missed a major opportunity earlier this month to prove himself as something other than the power hungry incompetent chief executive he makes himself out to be when he refused to single out white nationalists for condemnation.
Thousands of white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, to “protest” the city’s plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and in the ensuing violent clashes between demonstrators and counter-protesters, one person died and dozens more were wounded.
The president responded to Charlottesville by saying that responsibility for the violence rests with both sides, immediately garnering wide criticism for his refusal to single out white supremacists for special condemnation.
White House economic adviser Gary Cohn has now joined the chorus of those opposing the president over Charlottesville, speaking out in an interview with the Financial Times.
Cohn was forceful and straightforward in his remarks, telling the publication:
‘This administration 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. Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK.’
It’s true; Trump went so over the edge that he, as mentioned, said that the white nationalists rallying in Charlottesville were no different from the counter-protesters, asserting that there were “fine people” on both sides.
Notably, Cohn says that he has had private conversations with the president about his thoughts on the matter. With the president having now repeatedly stood by his initial non-committal remarks, those conversations obviously didn’t get anywhere.
It’s bad news for other reasons than just that of the White House’s continued acceptance of hate speech that the president doesn’t always listen to his advisers. Instability is not a virtue, especially in the office of the president — even though some on the right have literally claimed as much.
Cohn — who is Jewish — told the Financial Times that he has faced “enormous pressure” to resign from the White House National Economic Council following Charlottesville, but he has decided not to.
As he explained:
‘As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting ‘Jews will not replace us’ to cause this Jew to leave his job. I feel deep empathy for all who have been targeted by these hate groups. We must all unite together against them.’
It’s pathetic for the president to not be on board with Cohn’s remarks. He is, by all quantifiable standards, a failure of a president in that he does not represent most of the people of the United States.
Cohn is on most of America’s side, with, for example, tens of thousands of people having turned out in Boston to demonstrate against white supremacy just one week after the violence in Charlottesville. Those to make their stand against the president known have included everyone from Republican Senators to heads of charitable organizations moving their organizations’ events away from Trump Organization properties.
And yet, the president remains steadfastly in his bubble where he thinks that supporting white supremacists will be anything but a torpedo to his presidency.
Featured Image via Bloomberg/ Getty Images