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Andrew Harnik / AP

Gary Cohn told the Financial Times that he felt "enormous pressure" following Trump's response to Charlottesville, where the president blamed "both sides" for the violence that broke out.

"This 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."
"I have come under enormous pressure both to resign and to remain in my current position. As a patriotic American, I am reluctant to leave my post... But I also feel compelled to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks... Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK."

Why it matters: A source close to Trump predicts he will explode when he reads the Cohn interview.

  • It's got all the ingredients to enrage the president: a subordinate criticizing him, and an effective endorsement of how the mainstream media portrayed the events.
  • Consider the amount of time Trump spent on stage in Phoenix, Tuesday, telling the crowd that his response to Charlottesville was perfect but the "fake news" intentionally distorted it.
  • The way Trump will see it, Cohn is siding with the fake news.

P.S. — Cohn on tax reform: "I do think it can pass both of the tax committees and both chambers in 2017."

Go deeper

8 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.