A senior adviser to Donald Trump has said the administration “must do better” in condemning hate groups after the violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
White House economic adviser Gary Cohn told the Financial Times he is under “enormous pressure” both to quit and to remain in the White House, adding: “As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting ‘Jews will not replace us’ to cause this Jew to leave his job.”
Mr Cohn said he feels “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.”
Mr Trump was criticised after he said “both sides” were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville.
Mr Trump later blamed the media for the condemnation of his response to the violent protests, saying in Phoenix he had “openly called for healing unity and love” in the immediate aftermath.
Mr Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, said 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”.
He 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.
Mr Cohn said the tax overhaul is the White House’s “number one focus right now” and the president will be making a major push for changing the nation’s tax system beginning next week.
Mr Trump is expected to rally support for a tax overhaul at an event next Wednesday in Springfield, Missouri.
Administration officials have argued that lowering personal and business tax rates would generate millions of jobs and spur faster economic growth.