National Economic Director Gary Cohn had drafted a resignation letter and met with President Donald Trump last week, a source with knowledge of the situation told Fox News Friday, as the president’s top economic advisor says he felt pressure to quit following Trump’s controversial reaction to the white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
It is unclear whether Cohn’s resignation letter was ever submitted.
However, Cohn said during an interview with The Financial Times that despite feeling pressure to leave his White House post, “As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting ‘Jews will not replace us’ to cause this Jew to leave his job.”
Cohn said he was reluctant to leave because he feels a duty to his job. But, he said, he felt “compelled to voice my distress” over the Charlottesville incident, adding “citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK.”
Trump initially said “both sides” were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville. He later blamed the media for the condemnation of his response to the violent protests, saying in Phoenix he’d “openly called for healing unity and love” in the immediate aftermath.
Cohn told the newspaper that the Trump 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.”
Cohn outlined the administration’s upcoming push to overhaul the nation’s tax code in the interview. He said the bill could be passed in the House and Senate in 2017, pushing back the administration’s timetable for a bill to reach the president’s desk. The White House had said previously that it expected final passage in November.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.