Saturday, August 26, 2017

Gary Not From Indiana

President Trump signs military transgender ban; Robert Mueller issues supbpoenas to individuals associated with Paul Manafort; Sebastian Gorkas resigns/is fired; the President pardons former Sheriff Joe Arapaio; and Hurricane Harvey wreaks havoc along the Gulf Coast.

And so I've been thinking of Gary Cohn,  who wrote the draft of a resignation letter as director of the White  House Economic Council. Sometime afterward, he met with President Trump, who persuaded him to stay, though as The New York Times reports

in a stunning critique of the president, Mr. Cohn told The Financial Times in an interview published on Friday that the Trump administration “can and must do better” to condemn hate groups and “do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities.”...

“I have had numerous private conversations with the president on this topic,” Mr. Cohn told The Financial Times, adding that “I have not been bashful saying what I think.”

Spare us.  Former Missouri senator John Danforth has written in The Washington Post "We cannot allow Donald Trump to redefine the Republican Party. That is what he is doing, as long as we give the impression by our silence that his words are our words and his actions are our actions. We cannot allow that impression to go unchallenged."

Unfortunately Danforth, perenially overrated as a US Senator by a media always ready to laud Republicans who are not racist or vitriolic, argues that Trump has departed from traditional GOP values and decorum and "is not a real Republican."  Given his moves on climate change, deregulation, health care, scientific research, immigration, financial reform, the estate tax, the environment, and so much more, that's a crock. However, Danforth did note, accurately and courageously, that the constitution's framers

created a constitutional structure and a Bill of Rights that would accommodate within one nation all manner of interests and opinions. Americans honor that principle in the national motto on the presidential seal: “e pluribus unum” — “out of many, one.” Today, the United States is far more diverse than when we were a nation of 3 million people , but the principle remains the same: We are of many different backgrounds, beliefs, races and creeds, and we are one...

Trump is always eager to tell people that they don’t belong here, whether it’s Mexicans, Muslims, transgender people or another group. His message is, “You are not one of us,” the opposite of “e pluribus unum.”

Yet Gary Cohn insists to Financial Times "as a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting ‘Jews will not replace us’ to cause this Jew to leave his job.”

Someone notify Mr. Cohn that it's not necessary to be Jewish to leave a President who signals his support to neo-Nazis; that President Trump's response to Charlottesville was in keeping with his tone and rhetoric of the past two years; and that "Jewish American" is an ethnic group and not a religion. By contrast, God himself once wrote "Breaking news from Mt. Sinai: Judaism is a religion. The millions of allusions to me in every single text and commentary and ritual of the past 3,000 years probably should have been a giveaway."

But most of all inform Gary Cohn that when the story of this most extraordinary and destructive period is written,  it will not deal kindly with someone who was complicit in this Administration because he wanted to be a player in tax cuts for corporations or to be appointed chairperson of the Federal Reserve Board.

Expressing mere concern about one of Trump's many outrageous incidents may allow him to maintain a modicum of credibility in the financial community once the President he serves goes down.  But it will not spare him the harsh judgement of history. Ask John Danforth.

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