The White House denied rumors Thursday that the National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn had resigned over President Trump’s blame of “both sides” for the incidents in Charlottesville, between white supremacists and counter-protesters, the Hill informs.
“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 reaction on Charlottesville, at Tuesday press conference which was 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.”
Several media outlets reported on Wednesday that Cohn considered resigning, and there was a speculation on Thursday morning that the former Goldman Sachs chief operating officer would leave his position as Trump’s chief economic adviser.
The White House refused to tell reporters if Trump and Cohn talked about the president’s comments, telling the press pool, “We’re not going to comment on internal conversations.”
Cohn’s rumored resignation-rattled 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 not be resigning.
Trump’s reaction 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.”