Yesterday, a number of news sources reported this story from the Associated Press:
White House adviser differs with coal-loving president
(It probably goes without saying that the Wheeling Intelligencer was not one of them.)
As the article explains:
The president's chief economic adviser is casting doubt on the future of U.S. coal, saying it "doesn't really make that much sense anymore as a feedstock," directly contradicting President Donald Trump's repeated promises to revive the struggling coal industry.
Briefing reporters Thursday night on Air Force One, Gary Cohn singled out natural gas as "such a cleaner fuel." By exporting more natural gas and investing in wind and solar energy, the U.S. "can be a manufacturing powerhouse and still be environmentally friendly," Cohn said.
Cohn's comments were at odds with his boss, who campaigned as coal's champion and decried what he and other Republicans called a "war on coal" by former President Barack Obama.
Predictably, Senator Manchin reacted. What wasn't as predictable was the senator's decision to designate the right-wing (and Trump favorite) Breitbart News as his sole messenger. (Unless he figured that this was a sure way to get Trump's attention on the matter.) Here's the headline in yesterday's Breitbart:
Exclusive — Sen. Joe Manchin: We Need to ‘Educate’ Gary Cohn ‘A Little Bit Better’ on Crucial Role of Coal
And here's how the article begins:
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a Democratic U.S. Senator from the heart of coal country in West Virginia, told Breitbart News exclusively that he was shocked and disappointed in White House National Economic Council director Gary Cohn’s anti-coal comments in Europe this week.
Manchin said in the exclusive interview that he hopes that Cohn will allow him to “educate” him more on his uninformed anti-coal standpoint, and that he looks forward to a deeper conversation with the official from President Donald Trump’s White House.
“Yeah, Gary, I don’t know what the hell happened with Gary. Jesus Christ, what’s wrong with these people?” Manchin joked when asked for a response to Cohn’s comments this week that coal “doesn’t make much sense anymore.” Cohn’s comments run counter to President Trump’s position on the issue, too, since Trump said the “war on coal is over” with him as president. Cohn is a former Goldman Sachs banking executive.
My first reaction to Cohn's comments was that he said what he said because he believes that it's true and that, not being a politician, he forgot the party line about bringing back coal. If I'm right, I think that there is a good possibility that we will shortly hear: "what I really meant to say was . . ." followed by a walking back of his comments. Doing some research, however, I found this possible explanation from Bess Levin at Vanity Fair:
Of all of the people who signed up to join the Trump administration, one of the most surprising was Gary Cohn. In his past life, the National Economic Council director was the president of Goldman Sachs, where he was surrounded by mostly intelligent people and had a boss who is widely respected. He’s a registered Democrat. And, unlike many of the people on Team Trump, he is aware of basic facts like if you want to build a road, it costs money. But Cohn was widely known to have grown sick and tired of waiting for Lloyd Blankfein to vacate the C.E.O. office, allowing him to get the job, and so when the call came to work for the White House, it appeared to be a good way to make a graceful exit. (When you’re worth hundreds of millions of dollars, retirement starts to look like a fate worse than death.) But the last several months have clearly worn on Cohn, and on Friday, he showed signs of taking the first step in a series of steps that might result in blurting out, “I can‘t work with you morons anymore!”
If I were the senator, I think I'd be careful about this "exclusivity" thing -- there's at least one writer at Breitbart saying bad things about Joe behind his back. I googled and counted seven times this year that AWR Hawkins, Breitbart's 2nd Amendment Columnist and political analyst for Armed America Radio, has not been complimentary to the senator on the gun control issue. (Sadly for Manchin, his "A" rating from the NRA isn't good enough.)
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