President Trump's top economic adviser, who spent months trying to keep Trump from imposing steep tariffs, might not be sticking around much longer.
Gary Cohn is one of the few moderates in Trump's White House, and rumors have long swirled that he's been close to leaving. Trump announced Thursday he will enact a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports, after Cohn tried, in a last-ditch effort, to convince him on Wednesday not to go through with his plan, several people told Politico. Cohn is "passionate" in his belief that "protectionism is economically backward and won't lead to increased prosperity," Politico reports, and several other members of the Trump administration, including National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, agreed with him.
Cohn almost resigned as director of the National Economic Council last summer, after Trump said there were "good people on both sides" of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, but he stayed put to push through the Republican tax overhaul, Politico reports. His allies are not sure if the tariff announcement is the last straw, but it's a major blow to Cohn, who fought with White House trade adviser and tariff advocate Peter Navarro over the plan. In the end, Cohn's arguments against the tariffs meant nothing — several people told Politico that Trump, infuriated by all of the negative press his staff has been receiving, was "dead-set" on imposing tariffs.