According to The New York Times, Donald Trump has been avoiding making eye contact with his chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, in light of Cohn’s public criticism of Trump’s response to last month’s violence in Charlottesville, Va.
The Times reported that Trump refused to make eye contact with the head of his National Economic Council during an infrastructure meeting on Thursday featuring New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers from New York and New Jersey.
The move is said to be one of Trump’s most infamous insults for those who find themselves on his bad side.
At a meeting on Thursday on infrastructure at the White House with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and members of Congress from New York and New Jersey, Mr. Kelly told participants that Mr. Cohn would lead the meeting. But Mr. Trump, whose most cutting insult is to pretend someone does not exist or that he barely knows them, virtually ignored him.
Trump’s reported icy behavior toward Cohn comes roughly a month after the former Goldman Sachs exec publicly criticized the president’s reaction to the violence in Charlottesville, which was spurred by white supremacist groups.
Trump said “both sides” were to blame and there were “very fine people” on both sides of the argument during a press conference in Trump Tower, with Cohn standing beside him.
“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,” Cohn told The Financial Times last month.
“Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK,” he said.
However, Cohn is reportedly not on his own in the White House. White House chief of staff John Kelly has made an effort to be publicly friendly with Cohn:
The new chief of staff has tried to shield Gary D. Cohn, the chairman of the National Economic Council, from Mr. Trump’s continuing wrath since the former Goldman Sachs executive went public with his disgust at the president’s response to the deadly violence last month in Charlottesville, Va.
Mr. Kelly made a point, one staff member said, of throwing his arm around Mr. Cohn in solidarity, in full view of the news media, as they exited Marine One last week on the South Lawn.