Trump’s Jewish aides: Should they resign?
It should be a “no-brainer,” said Gersh Kuntzman in the New York Daily News. If you’re Jewish, and your boss defends swastika-waving, neo-Nazi thugs who march through the streets chanting “Jews will not replace us,” you really should “resign in protest.” Yet since President Trump’s abhorrent claim that the recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., included some “very fine people,” the Jewish members of his administration have kept mum. Chief economic adviser Gary Cohn did admit he drafted a resignation letter, only to declare disingenuously that he wouldn’t allow neo-Nazis to drive him out of his job. Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, actively defended Trump. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, “has said nothing.” Shame on them all, said Dana Milbank in The Washington Post. Cohn and the others are increasingly resembling the “court Jews” of European history, whose sole job was to please, placate, and loan money to the king. “Do they prize their appointments so much?”
Just to be clear, said Seth Mandel in the New York Post, you’re denouncing Jews who work for Trump as “greedy, power-hungry money lenders.” I preferred that argument “in the original German.” This campaign to shame “Trump’s Jews” is “obscene,” and anti-Semitic in itself. Jews shouldn’t be held to a “higher moral standard” than their colleagues, said Mairav Zonszein in Haaretz.com. If Trump’s moral equivocation about neo-Nazis was so offensive that Cohn and Mnuchin should have resigned, the same is true for every other Cabinet member. There are many reasons to criticize people who work for an administration “peddling racism, misogyny, and hate of all kinds.” Their religion isn’t one of them.
Cynics say Cohn is “hanging on” in the hope of succeeding Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve, said David Axelrod in CNN.com. But it’s just as likely he decided against resigning because he “felt he could do more good—or, perhaps, prevent more bad—by staying.” The former Goldman Sachs executive sees himself as a “moderating influence” on his boss and a bulwark against the White House “economic nationalists” who want tariffs and trade wars. That’s why the markets “took a dive” on rumors that Cohn might resign. But in coming months, what Cohn and other Trump aides must weigh is whether they’re succeeding in managing the president’s worst instincts. If not, they’re “simply enabling them.” ■