WASHINGTON: Donald Trump’s White House was rocked by another high-profile resignation Tuesday, as top economic advisor Gary Cohn quit in protest at the president’s decision to levy global steel tariffs, reports AFP.
“It has been an honor to serve my country and enact pro-growth economic policies to benefit the American people,” Cohn said in a terse statement that belied fierce infighting in Trump’s tumultuous White House.Cohn is just the latest in a long string of senior Trump advisors to resign or be fired, a virtually unprecedented turnover of administration staff.
The 57-year-old had strongly opposed Trump’s decision to levy tariffs on steel and aluminum, which has sparked fears of a trade war.
“For several weeks Gary had been discussing with the president that it was nearing time for him to transition out. His departure date is to be determined but will be a few weeks from now,” a White House official said.
A former Goldman Sachs executive, his departure prompted concerned murmurs on Wall Street and could portend a rocky trading session on Wednesday.
The aide, who is Jewish, had threatened to resign after Trump refused to condemn neo-Nazi groups who protested in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Then, like now, allies had tried to keep Cohn on board with the prospect of a future cabinet-level position or passing tax reform—which he helped usher through Congress.A long-time Democrat, he was seen as a moderating influence that curbed Trump’s nationalist economic instincts and those of advisors like Peter Navarro.
In a statement, Trump praised Cohn’s as a “rare talent.”
“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,” Trump said.
“He is a rare talent, and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people.”
Cohn’s departure presents a political problem for Trump, as he wrestles Congressional Republicans who share the aide’s concern about tariffs and a looming trade war.