White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn has resigned from his post in President Donald Trump’s administration.
Cohn was a former Goldman Sachs president and is a free trade advocate. His exit date will come a few weeks from now. His resignation was caused by Trump’s plan to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
“It has been an honor to serve my country and enact pro-growth economic policies to benefit the American people, in particular the passage of historic tax reform,” said Cohn in a prepared statement. “I am grateful to the president for giving me this opportunity and wish him and his Administration great success in the future.”
“Gary has been my chief economic advisor 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,” said Trump in his own statement.
Cohn has been publicly opposed to Trump’s plan to impose heavy tariff duties on steel and aluminum imports. He had warned about price increases for steel and aluminum products.
Meanwhile, market watchers saw Cohn’s potential departure as a sinister omen for the White House’s economic policy. Among Cohn’s recent achievements is that he helped push forward Trump’s massive tax cuts.
Cohn has previously faced pressure to resign following the president’s defiant response to violence at a white nationalist rally last year in August. In a published interview, Cohn said that he faced pressure both to leave Trump’s administration and to stay in it.
Cohn said that the White House “must do better” after Trump’s widely criticized response at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the K.K.K.,” said Cohn. “I believe this administration ca 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.”
Goolsbee Not To Fill Cohn’s Shoes
Austan Goolsbee, who was Obama’s former economic advisor, said that he didn’t want to take Cohn’s position “if it was the last job on Earth.”
Goolsbee is a leading economist who currently works as a professor in the University of Chicago. He cited disagreements with the Trump administration’s policy focus. He also expressed concerns regarding the recent exits of White House staffers.
Trump’s plan to slap tariffs on aluminum and steel imports could potentially spark “an escalating trade war if not an outright global recession,” according to Goolsbee.
He added that the government’s “unprecedented turnover of personnel” suggests that the White House “isn’t a health environment.”
Goolsbee gave a warning and said that if all the moderates leave, Trump will be left with only his own family members, if not those who are desperate for the job.
“That doesn’t bode well for policy making,” he said.
Reports also circulated and claimed that Cohn’s resignation was “a huge victory” for advocates of protectionist nationalism, name-dropping White House Trade Council Director Peter Navarro.
“Peter Navarro is a bomb-thrower and not a conventional economist in the slightest way,” said Goolsbee. He added that being a well-known China hawk, Navarro “has called for dramatically more protectionism” that goes well beyond tariffs.
Larry Kudlow, a conservative economist, is rumored to be a potential replacement to Cohn. Goolsbee said that Kudlow could offer balance to the White House.
“Larry Kudlow is an old friend of mine and though I disagree with him on many issues, he’s 100 percent right on this issue of trade, and I hope the president will call and listen to someone like Larry on that issue,” said Goolsbee.