Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) on Wednesday claimed that President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn once faked a bad connection to boot the President off a phone call that was interrupting a conversation about taxes.
“We’d been having about a half an hour conversation with Gary, with Marc Short and with Shahira Knight,” Carper said on CNN, referring to Trump’s director of legislative affairs and his top assistant for tax and retirement policy, respectively.
Carper said it was a “great conversation,” albeit one with an unexpected interruption.
“About 30 minutes into the call, Gary gets up and takes a call on his cell phone, comes back into the room,” Carper said. “He says, we have somebody calling in from Asia.”
The disruption, according to Carper, “was the President, which was nice.”
“Nice of him to do that,” Carper said. “Fifteen minutes later, the President is still talking.”
Carper said he gave Cohn a suggestion for how to get Trump off the phone: “It was a room where we’re all sitting around this big square table, and I said, Gary, why don’t you do this, why don’t you just take the phone from, you know, your cell phone back and just say, Mr. President, you’re brilliant! But we’re losing contact, and I think we’re going to lose you now, so good-bye.”
“And that’s what he did, and he hung up,” Carper said. “And then we went back to having the kind of conversation that we needed to.”
“So you’re saying Gary Cohn faked a bad connection to get the president off the phone?” CNN’s John Berman asked Carper.
“Well, I wouldn’t — I don’t want to throw him under the bus,” Carper said. “But yes.”
The White House said Carper’s account was “completely false.”
“Gary Cohn took the phone off speaker and continued to speak with the President privately for several minutes before they concluded the call,” principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah said in a statement to TPM.
This post has been updated.