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The Charlottesville neo-Nazis didn’t chant, “Gary Cohn must resign!”

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A brief summary of recent history:

  • A bunch of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, marched through town at night holding fiery torches and chanting, “Jews will not replace us.”
  • President Donald Trump volunteered at a press conference that, among the marchers, there were at least some “very fine people.”
  • Trump’s chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, who is Jewish, resigned in disgust got word leaked anonymously that he was very upset with Trump but would continue working for him, leaving observers to surmise that his barely-concealed desire to become the chairman of the Federal Reserve had overridden his pride of heritage.

Now, in an interview with the Financial Times, Cohn has gone public with his disappointments, but given a laughably self-serving justification for his decision to stay on at the White House.

“I believe 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,” he said. “As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting ‘Jews will not replace us’ to cause this Jew to leave his job.”

As Cohn notes, though, the chant that Trump indirectly blessed wasn’t “Trump should fire his Jewish economic adviser.” It was “Jews will not replace us.” Those pressuring him to resign wanted him to make a symbolic statement of disgust with Donald Trump, not with the marching neo-Nazis, who don’t actually employ him.

It stands to reason that Trump at some point will read Cohn’s critical remarks and become extremely angry with him. And it would befit the measures of both men if Trump fired him for being insufficiently tolerant of Nazis, after Cohn passed up his chance to be remembered for standing on principle.