“None of us are there anymore,” Cohn added.
The former president and CEO of Goldman Sachs underscored his “brutally honest” relationship with the president — a dynamic he said he hoped every adviser would have with any president.
“I advise some of the most important companies in the world. I made my reputation and brand in life by telling them the truth. … I wasn’t going to treat the president of the United States any differently. If he wanted to fire me, he could fire me.”
But Trump did not unceremoniously remove him from the White House, despite their constant headbutting. Cohn was instrumental in driving the tax reform policy that Trump has hailed as one of his administration’s major accomplishments, and the aide decided to stay on even after threatening to resign over Trump’s controversial comments following white supremacist attacks in Charlottesville.
“My ultimate decision to leave started with Charlottesville,” said Cohn, who cited his family history of Jews escaping Nazi Germany as a major influence on his disagreements with Trump. “These are very difficult conversations… You’re literally telling him things he does not want to hear, that he vehemently disagrees with you. You know that before you walk in. it’s not like you’re confused where his position is.”
Cohn agreed to see through his tax reform policy, which he called “very important” for the country, before departing in 2018.
The former aide also commented on controversy that has led to impeachment hearings, saying he was “surprised” by the withheld Ukrainian military aid.
When asked whether the events leading up to impeachment proceedings were a result of Trump surrounding himself with loyalists, Cohn said, “I don’t know, but it may be.”