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Gary Cohn resigns as President Trump’s top economic adviser amid disputes over import tariffs


“He is a rare talent, and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people,” Trump said in a statement.
Gary Cohn, President Trump’s top economic adviser, announced Tuesday that he’s stepping down, marking the latest departure from a White House besieged by resignations.
The abrupt announcement comes as Trump pledges to impose steep penalties on steel and aluminum imports, infuriating industry executives, mainstream Republicans and even some members of his own administration, including Cohn.
But the White House would not address any particular reason behind Cohn’s decision.
“Gary has been my chief economic adviser and did a superb job in driving our agenda,” Trump said in a statement. “He is a rare talent, and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people.”
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Cohn, 57, has served as the director of Trump’s National Economic Council since the inauguration, a senior position that involves advising the President on sensitive trade issues. He is expected to leave in the coming weeks, following the footsteps of communications director Hope Hicks and staff secretary Rob Porter, among many others.
“It has been an honor to serve my country and enact pro-growth economic policies to benefit the American people, in particular the passage of historic tax reform,” Cohn said in a statement. “I am grateful to the President for giving me this opportunity and wish him and the Administration great success in the future.”
But Cohn’s cordial words sharply contrast reports that he was enraged by Trump’s announcement last week that he will levy 10% tariffs on aluminum imports and 25% tariffs on steel imports. Rumors of Cohn’s West Wing departure began to swirl in earnest immediately after Trump’s tariff announcement.
Cohn, a former investment banker and a strong proponent of free trade, has fought off several economic policies catering to Trump’s nationalist base, repeatedly pitting him against some of the President’s most right-wing aides.
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Cohn first threatened to leave the chaotic Trump administration last summer after the President refused to unequivocally condemn racism and white supremacy in the wake of a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. That mere threat set financial markets tumbling.
Cohn’s resignation came hours after Trump fought back against suggestions that his administration is constantly embroiled in controversy and suffers from a hectically high turnover rate.
“The new Fake News narrative is that there is CHAOS in the White House,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “Wrong! People will always come & go, and I want strong dialogue before making a final decision… There is no Chaos, only great energy!”
Trump doubled down on his apparent love of confrontation during a combative press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven later in the day.
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“I like conflict,” he told reporters. “I like different points of view.”
Cohn was absent during the afternoon press conference and a seat reserved for him was filled by a different aide.
Trump’s White House has a historically high turnover rate, surpassing the past five administrations by far.
The Brookings Institution revealed in January that a whopping 34% of Trump’s “A team” — a denomination encompassing 60 staffers from the White House and the Executive Office” — resigned during his first year in office. That’s in comparison to the Obama administration’s 9% and the Bush Jr. administration’s 6%.

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