Gary Cohn on Trump's reported frustration: We have a 'great relationship'

Key Points
  • Gary Cohn says he has a "great relationship" with President Trump.
  • The president has reportedly grown frustrated after comments made by his chief economic advisor last month.
  • Cohn is one of two officials leading the White House push on tax reform.
Gary Cohn: We need to simplify our tax system

As President Donald Trump reportedly fumes over comments Gary Cohn made last month, the White House chief economic advisor told CNBC on Friday he and the president get along well.

"I have a great relationship with the president," Cohn said. "We're working well together. We've spent enormous amount of time this week working on taxes."

"He and I are spending time working together on all the big economic issues that are going to drive economic growth and drive wages in this country. That's what he cares about, that's what I care about," he added.

Trump has grown more frustrated as Cohn and other top advisors publicly challenge or contradict him, according to The Washington Post. Trump saw Cohn's comments about the president's response to violence at a white nationalist rally in Virginia last month as a mark of "personal disloyalty," the newspaper reported.

The president drew backlash for pinning the violence in Charlottesville on "both sides" and saying "very fine people" marched with the white supremacists assembled there. Cohn, who is Jewish, has said the Trump administration "must do better" to combat neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

After Trump's remarks, Cohn said he faced pressure both to resign his position and remain in it. He even reportedly drafted a resignation letter, but never sent it.

"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 FT.

Cohn, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, has represented the White House in tax reform meetings with congressional leaders. During a speech on taxes this week, Trump acknowledged various advisors working on tax reform, but he did not mention Cohn.

A Cohn departure would be seen as a blow to Republicans' hopes of passing a tax reform plan.