The Trump administration has downplayed reports that Gary Cohn, the White House chief economist is considering leaving the administration due to frustrations over the steel and aluminum tariffs implementation.
According to a source familiar with Chon’s thinking, the chief economist was furious at the trade move which the president announced last week. The move shows that Cohn has lost all influence with President Donald Trump, CNN writes.
Peter Navarro, the director of the White House National Trade Council, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Cohn “was in great spirits” when he met with him and Trump on Thursday, but Navarro didn’t dispute that Cohn could be thinking about an exit.
“Gary and I basically have very differing opinions. The President loves that. He wants to hear all sides of the argument. So, he’s a valued member of the team. And it’s up to Gary whether he goes or stays, but I like working with the guy,” said Navarro, who defended the president’s policy and expressed strong support for the tariffs.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, on the other hand, maintained that Cohn will not leave the West Wing.
“He’s been a big participant of the interagency process that came to this conclusion,” Ross said. “The president likes to hear every side of every argument. That way he’s sure he’s gotten all points of view. We’ve had a lively discussion,” Ross commented.
However, since there is a chance Trump could change his mind, Cohn may not ultimately leave the administration. He was on the verge of resigning last summer after the president compared white supremacists to counterprotesters following deadly clashes between the groups in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Cohn, who is a high-profile Jewish member of the administration and former Goldman Sachs executive, said he was “distressed” by President Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville violence and protests. He further stated that the administration “can and must do better” to condemn hate groups.