It’s an old story at this point that the Trump administration has seen a striking senior staff turnover rate in the time that it’s been in power. Numerous high profile officials have made abrupt exits from their positions, with departures ranging from that of former presidential national security adviser Michael Flynn to the more recent departure of White House communications director Hope Hicks.
Now, there is another name to add to the list of departures from the White House.
The New York Times is reporting that Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, a Democrat who had led the National Economic Council, will be leaving the White House.
This story is one of the comparatively few that hasn’t prompted belligerent cries of fake news from the Trump administration. The going line from Trump officials speaking to the publication is that there is not a “single reason” why Cohn is leaving the Trump administration, but individuals speaking with The Times who are familiar with his thinking say that the president’s recently announced intent to impose hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminum had a lot to do with it.
Trump offered a statement to The Times praising Cohn reading:
‘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. He is a rare talent, and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people.’
As for the controversial tariffs claimed to have catalyzed Cohn’s departure, the president continues to stand his ground, alternating between dismissing the significance of a potential trade war and dismissing the idea that his tariffs will even spark such a calamity.
Cohn, in his statement offered on the occasion of the revelation of his imminent departure, highlighted the much maligned tax reforms that the president signed into law late last year.
Cohn was part of a widely talked about incident during the lead-up to that measure passing, when while speaking to corporate execs he asked how many of them would pour tax savings into investing in their businesses. A dismal number of the execs actually indicated they would do such a thing.
There were murmurs late last year that Cohn would soon be leaving, although those came in an entirely different context than the present one of the president’s commitment to fiercely nationalistic tariffs.
After intense violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, sparked by a massive meeting of white nationalists, the president initially declined to single out those white nationalists for any special condemnation. There was talk at the time that Cohn might end up being one of those to abandon Trump over the incident.
One thing that Cohn can claim for himself is a spot in the small group of people who have left the White House while maintaining a public face of being on good terms with the White House. Departures including those of officials ranging from national security adviser Michael Flynn to Staff Secretary Rob Porter have been catalyzed by scandals over issues including Russia ties and domestic violence.
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