Gary Cohn

Cohn Says Trade War Could Wipe Out Tax Cut Gains

Former Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn said that an escalating trade war could wipe out the benefits of the Republican tax law passed last fall, the Washington Post reports.

Said Cohn: “If you end up with a tariff battle, you will end up with price inflation, and you could end up with consumer debt. Those are all historic ingredients for an economic slowdown.”

Quote of the Day

“He may be a globalist, but I still like him. … He’s going to go out, make another couple hundred million, and then he’s going to maybe come back. He might come back, right? We’ll be here… another seven years, hopefully — that’s a long time. But I have a feeling you’ll be back.”

— President Trump, quoted by Politico, on economic adviser Gary Cohn leaving the White House.

Trump Thinks Cohn Will Leave If Tariffs Happen

“President Trump has told advisers that he believes economic adviser Gary Cohn will leave his White House job if Trump decides to go forward with tariffs on imported steel and aluminum,” Bloomberg reports.

“Cohn has mounted a last-ditch effort, along with other administration officials and some Republican lawmakers, to head off steep tariffs that threaten to unleash a global trade war.”

Is Cohn Next to Leave White House?

Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn “has been rumored to be on the brink of leaving the White House for months but stayed for one main reason: to stop the president from imposing steep tariffs,” Politico reports.

“By Thursday afternoon, Cohn had lost the fight.”

“The decision came after a frantic 24 hours in which Cohn and others tried to walk Trump off the ledge. At one point, aides were sure Trump would make the announcement. Then they said he wouldn’t. Finally, sitting alongside steel executives, he did.”

Cohn Faked Bad Connection to Get Off Call with Trump

Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) told CNN that White House adviser Gary Cohn took a call from President Trump during a discussion with Democratic senators about tax reform.

Said Carper: “Gary gets up and takes a call on his cellphone, comes back into the room, and says, we have somebody calling in from Asia, and it was the president, which was nice. Nice of him to do that. 15 minutes later, the president is still talking. And I said to Gary, it was a room where we’re all sitting around this big table, and I said, Gary why don’t you do this… 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.'”

He added: “And that’s what he did, and he hung up.”

The Rise and Fall of Gary Cohn’s Fed Dreams

Politico: “The former Goldman Sachs president, now Trump’s top economic adviser, was a front-runner for the Fed job until August, when he publicly broke with the president over his handling of fatal neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.”

“As recently as last month, the two still appeared at odds. Guests at a black-tie gala in Washington in mid-October honoring First Lady Melania Trump were treated to an awkward display between the two, as the president stared straight ahead and continued to make small talk with others while Cohn was trying talk to him, said an attendee.”

“Cohn is telling people he never really wanted the Fed job anyway. The Fed chairmanship, though immensely powerful, can be a dreary slog through endless meetings deciphering esoteric economic signals followed by tedious trips to the Hill to answer questions from grandstanding members of Congress.”

Gary Cohn Has Tried to Quit Many Times

Vanity Fair: “Working for Trump has been slowly eroding the reputation he spent 27 years crafting so meticulously at Goldman. His angst came to a head in August, during the 10 days after a group of white nationalists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, when Trump repeatedly fumbled his response to an incident that left one protester dead. As Kate Kelly and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times reported on August 25, Cohn drafted a letter of resignation, and was prepared to deliver it to Trump.”

“What has not been previously reported is that, according to a source with detailed knowledge of this thinking during that period, Cohn sought to resign twice while speaking directly to Trump during that 10-day period. He also spoke with John Kelly, the new chief of staff, about his desire to resign. But apparently, resigning from Trumpworld is far more difficult than one would expect. Cohn’s continued presence in the West Wing is a testament to a reality that is rapidly becoming crystalline: that Cohn, along with Kelly, Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, and Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, are all that is standing between Trump and utter chaos and incompetence.”

Cohn and Mnuchin Risk Destroying Their Reputations

David Leonhardt: “Within the administration, there are real differences among how top officials have behaved and how they are perceived. Several — Tom Price, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and Rex Tillerson — have badly sullied their standing with virtually everyone outside the administration. After long careers, they have turned themselves into punch lines.”

“The clearest exception is Jim Mattis, the defense secretary. Mattis has done so partly by avoiding scandal and minimizing conflicts with Trump. But he has also been careful to set his own ethical boundaries. Can you recall a single time when Mattis has said something outright untrue? I can’t. That’s how he has retained his dignity in the eyes of so many people.”

“Cohn and Mnuchin have started to risk theirs. This column is a plea to them: Please stop, for everyone’s sake, including yours.”

Trump Not Likely to Pick Cohn for Fed Chairman

President Trump “is unlikely to nominate Gary Cohn, his top economic adviser, as the next Federal Reserve chairman, indicating that he is open to considering additional names for a pick he has said he would like to make by year’s end,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Mr. Cohn may have doomed his chances for the top Fed job with comments he made to the Financial Times on Aug. 25… Mr. Cohn had told associates that he was disgusted by Mr. Trump’s performance immediately after the president’s combative news conference on Aug. 15 about the Charlottesville events.”

A GOP source close to the White House tells Jake Tapper that Cohn is “more likely to get electric chair than Fed Chair.”