Dear Commons Community,
Gary D. Cohn, President Trump’s top economic adviser, said yesterday that he would resign, becoming the latest in a series of high-profile departures from the Trump administration. As reported by the New York Times:
“White House officials insisted that there was no single factor behind the departure of Mr. Cohn, who heads the National Economic Council. But his decision to leave came as he seemed poised to lose an internal struggle over Mr. Trump’s plan to impose large tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Mr. Cohn had warned last week that he might resign if Mr. Trump followed through with the tariffs, which Mr. Cohn had lobbied against internally.
“Gary has been my chief economic adviser and did a superb job in driving our agenda, helping to deliver historic tax cuts and reforms and unleashing the American economy once again,” Mr. Trump said in a statement to The New York Times. “He is a rare talent, and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people.”
Mr. Cohn is expected to leave in the coming weeks. He will join a string of recent departures by senior White House officials, including Mr. Trump’s communications director and a powerful staff secretary.
Yet the departure of Mr. Cohn, a free-trade-oriented Democrat who fended off a number of nationalist-minded policies during his year in the Trump administration, could have a ripple effect on the president’s economic decisions and on the financial industry.
It leaves Mr. Trump surrounded primarily by advisers with strong protectionist views who advocate the types of aggressive trade measures, like tariffs, that Mr. Trump campaigned on but that Mr. Cohn fought inside the White House. Mr. Cohn was viewed by Republican lawmakers as the steady hand who could prevent Mr. Trump from engaging in activities that could trigger a trade war.
In a statement, Mr. Cohn said he had been pleased to work on “pro-growth economic policies to benefit the American people, in particular the passage of historic tax reform.” White House officials said that Mr. Cohn was leaving on cordial terms with the president and that they planned to discuss policy even after his departure.
Mr. Cohn’s departure comes as the White House has been buffeted by turnover, uncertainty and internal divisions and as the president lashes out at the special counsel investigation that seems to be bearing down on his team.”
This is serious development as the Times article alludes. Cohn was a Democrat with a good deal of respect from Republicans. His departure surely will move Trump’s economic policies more to protectionism. There has also been speculation that Cohn might return to work in the Trump administration at a later date in some other capacity.