Trump administration’s Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn on Tuesday announced he would quit, adding to a growing list of departures from the White House.
Cohn’s exit comes on the heels of the president’s proposed plans to introduce tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The proposed move was described by Trump as an attempt to secure the U.S. industry from foreign competition. Announcement of tariffs led to concerns it would stoke trade wars, including retaliation from countries that import from the U.S., and was reportedly opposed by Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive, CNBC reported.
Trump announced 25 percent import duty on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Following Cohn’s exit, futures trading on Wall Street fell sharply. A ripple effect was also reportedly seen in the markets of Japan, Hong Kong, and Australia, according to The Guardian.
In a statement made Tuesday to The New York Times, President Trump termed Cohn a “rare talent” who helped the administration deliver “historic tax cuts.”
“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.”
Trump’s tweet about Cohn’s departure, however, appeared to reveal differences that eventually led to the exit.
Earlier on, the president had introduced Cohn as a former banker who gave up a big paycheck to work for the administration. Trump also reportedly considered installing Cohn as the next chairman of Federal Reserve, Wall Street Journal reported. The nomination did not happen and soon enough, Cohn reportedly fell out of favor when he criticized the president’s reaction to the Charlottesville violence last year. In a statement issued by White House after he had announced his exit, Cohn thanked the administration and referred to tax reforms as Trump did but did not state reasons for his exit.
WSJ also listed out possible contenders to replace Cohn. The list includes Peter Navarro, Andy Puzder, Lawrence Kudlow, and Kevin Hassett. Navarro is said to have helped draft the president’s protectionist stance in the imports issue.
Days before Cohn’s exit, White House Communications Director Hope Hicks said she would leave amidst concerns that Trump administration’s is already at a record-high. A report from the Brookings Institute claimed the turnover in White House during Trump’s first year in office has been higher than the past five presidents. The report reasoned Trump’s preference for loyalty over qualifications could be driving his executives to quit and claimed retaining senior staff could be more daunting during his second year.