Donald Trump’s economic adviser Gary Cohn quits role

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Donald Trump’s economic adviser Gary Cohn quits role

Chairman of the president's National Economic Council will resign amid speculation he disagrees with Trump on trade policy

Gary Cohn

(Official White House Photo by Evan Walker)
Gary Cohn (Official White House Photo by Evan Walker)

Gary Cohn, the chairman of President Donald Trump’s National Economic Council, is resigning.

The New York Times reported late Tuesday that Cohn, who is Jewish, would leave within weeks.

“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,” Trump told The Times. “He is a rare talent, and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people.”

Cohn told The Times that he had been proud to work on the “pro-growth economic policies to benefit the American people, in particular the passage of historic tax reform.”

The cordial goodbyes belied the tumult at the White House. There have been dozens of departures since Trump’s inauguration in slightly over a year ago. It’s not clear what drove Cohn out now, but the former top executive at the Goldman Sachs investment bank was known to flavor conventional Republican free trade policies.

Trump in a move last week that surprised many of his top advisers wants to introduce stiff tariffs on the importation of steel and aluminium.

Cohn was known to be close to Trump’s Jewish daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner. Both are top advisers to Trump.

Cohn reportedly considered quitting the Trump administration last August after Trump equivocated in his condemnation of neo-Nazis and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia. A white supremacist rammed counter protesters with his car during that march, killing one and injuring at least 20 others.

He nearly departed the administration last summer after he was upset by the president’s comments about the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Mr Cohn, who is Jewish, wrote a letter of resignation but never submitted it.

“Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK,” Mr Cohn told The Financial Times at the time.

“I believe this administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups and do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities.”

In a tweet earlier on Tuesday, Mr Trump sought to portray himself as the architect of the White House staff changes, writing: “I still have some people that I want to change (always seeking perfection).”

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