Is Trump Better Off Without This “West Wing Democrat?”
Gary Cohn, the president’s chief economic adviser, announced his resignation on Tuesday, leaving Trump’s inner circle with one less member of the group Steve Bannon used to disparage as the “White House Democrats.” And with reports swirling that both Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly are growing weary of Javanka’s presence in the West Wing, he may not be the last.
Reportedly, Cohn’s decision to leave came as a result of President Trump’s sudden, surprising, and unpopular announcement that he was leveling steel and aluminum tariffs on all imports. According to several reports, Trump confronted Cohn in the hours before his resignation, demanding that he come out publicly and support the tariffs. One can assume due to the way things played out that Cohn refused to do so.
In a statement, the president had nothing but respect for his outgoing adviser.
“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,” said Trump. “He is a rare talent, and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people.”
Cohn’s exit comes hot on the heels of Hope Hicks’ stunning resignation as well as rumors that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is planning his exit as early as next month. For a White House whose staff has been fluid since Inauguration Day, the last month has seen staff turnover reach an accelerated pace. Is it a sign that Trump finally feels fully comfortable exerting authority in the Oval Office…or is it a sign of chaos in the West Wing?
We tend to think it’s a little of both. It’s not difficult to imagine that Trump is growing increasingly frustrated with the Mueller investigation, which has thrown off any imagined shackles and is now barreling straight for the president’s business empire, his legal and rational decisions as commander-in-chief, and his most trusted allies. With his attorney general frozen by the recusal and seemingly unwilling to lift a finger to fix the abuses of the Obama era, Trump is perhaps extra frazzled by what he rightly perceives as a witch hunt.
On the other hand, Cohn’s departure may be just what this administration needs to move forward. Trump didn’t campaign on a platform of traditional Republican economic policies, and Cohn was instrumental in rejecting many of the economic-nationalist proposals the president wanted to push through in his first year. With fresh blood in the White House, Trump may finally be able to get down to business on the agenda he promised the American people.