Gary Cohn Says He Will Resign as Trump’s Top Economic Adviser
It leaves Mr. Trump surrounded primarily by advisers with strong protectionist views who advocate the types of aggressive trade measures, like tariffs, that Mr. Trump campaigned on but that Mr. Cohn fought inside the White House. Mr. Cohn was viewed by Republican lawmakers as the steady hand who could prevent Mr. Trump from engaging in activities that could trigger a trade war.
Even the mere threat, last August, that Mr. Cohn might leave sent the financial markets tumbling. On Tuesday, Mr. Cohn’s announcement rattled markets, and trading in futures pointed to a decline in the United States stock market when it opened on Wednesday.
In a statement, Mr. Cohn said he had been pleased to work on “pro-growth economic policies to benefit the American people, in particular the passage of historic tax reform.” White House officials said that Mr. Cohn was leaving on cordial terms with the president and that they planned to discuss policy even after his departure.
Mr. Cohn’s departure comes as the White House has been buffeted by turnover, uncertainty and internal divisions and as the president lashes out at the special counsel investigation that seems to be bearing down on his team.
A host of top aides have been streaming out the White House door or are considering a departure. Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary and a member of the inner circle, resigned after spousal abuse allegations. Hope Hicks, the president’s communications director and confidante, announced that she would leave soon. In recent days, the president has lost a speechwriter, an associate attorney general and the North Korea negotiator.
Others are perpetually seen as on the way out. John F. Kelly, the chief of staff, at one point broached resigning over the handling of Mr. Porter’s case. Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, has been reported to be preparing to leave. And many officials wonder if Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will stay now that he has lost his top-secret security clearance; the departure of Mr. Cohn further shrinks the number of allies Mr. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, have in the White House.
More than one in three top White House officials left by the end of Mr. Trump’s first year and fewer than half of the 12 positions closest to the president are still occupied by the same people as when he came into office, according to a Brookings Institution study.