White House economic adviser Gary Cohn is resigning over Trump's trade war

Gary Cohn is the latest White House departure
March 6, 2018, 10:50pm

Two hours after President Donald Trump bragged to reporters that, “Everyone wants to work at the White House,” his top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, announced that he is resigning from his job with the administration.

Cohn, the leader of the National Economic Council, is expected to leave his job in the coming weeks, the White House confirmed. Before his announcement, Cohn had advocated against Trump’s plan to ignite a trade war by imposing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the New York Times reported, but was unable to stop Trump from forging ahead with the nationalist proposal.

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Those tariffs were the last straw for Cohn, the Times reported.

“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.”

The announcement came just hours after Trump assured reporters at a press conference that, “Believe me, everybody wants to work in the White House. They all want a piece of that Oval Office.”

Cohn, a Democrat, is the latest in a steady stream of Trump officials who have left the White House, including national security adviser Michael Flynn, chief of staff Reince Priebus, White House press secretary Sean Spicer, communications director Anthony Scaramucci, chief strategist Steve Bannon, and White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman.

Hope Hicks, the White House’s current communications director, announced last week that she also plans to leave the administration, after her reported ex-boyfriend staff secretary Rob Porter quit following allegations of domestic abuse that tied up his security clearance. His resignation led to the firing of two other White House staffers who were also unable to obtain full security clearances, and the demotion of Jared Kushner from top secret clearance to secret clearance.

Staff turnover at the Trump White House is higher than the turnover rate in the last five administrations. It’s triple the turnover rate of the Obama administration, and double that of the Reagan administration, a Brookings Institution report found in January. With his resignation, Cohn will be the sixth member of the Trump administration to depart in the last month alone, a group that includes Hicks, Porter, tech adviser Reed Cordish, communications aide Josh Raffel, speechwriter David Sorenson, and adviser George David Banks.

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