Donald Trump’s chief economic advisor Gary Cohn reportedly faked a bad connection to get the president off the phone, Sen. Tom Carper (D-N.H.) told CNN Wednesday. The telephone call happened while Cohn was discussing tax reform with Democratic senators last week, as the president was touring Asia. The White House immediately contacted CNN to dispute Carper’s account.
During Carper’s interview with CNN, the anchor asked Carper, “At one point, it’s reported, that you looked over to his chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, and said to him, ‘We’re not going to have a real conversation here. Could you just tell the president that he’s brilliant and that we’re losing the connection and hang up?’ Seriously?”
“Seriously, and he did,” replied Carper.
According to Carper, the group had been talking taxes for around 30 minutes, looking for ways to find consensus on the major reform, when the president called Cohn and began speaking to the senators on-hand. After 15 minutes of talking from the president, Carper says he asked Cohn to fake bad connection, which the senator says Cohn did. “And then we went back to having the conversation we needed to,” says Carper.
After that interview with Carper, the White House reached out to CNN for comment, saying “Senator Carper’s claim is completely false. Gary Cohn left the room and continued to speak with the President privately for several minutes before they concluded the call.”
So far, no one else has stepped forward to corroborate either side’s account.