The White House announced on Tuesday that Gary Cohn, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, is resigning from his position and expected to make an exit in the coming weeks. Cohn is leaving after openly disagreeing with Trump’s decision to impose new tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, a move that has stirred up controversy across Capitol Hill.
“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 in a statement. “He is a rare talent, and I think him for his dedicated service to the American people.
This isn’t the first time Cohn has disagreed with Trump. According to a report by CNN, he spoke out against comments made by the president in the wake of the incident Charlottesville.
He asserted that the administration “can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning” the actions of hate groups, a statement he made after Trump pointed the finger at both the white supremacists and counter-protestors, and even referred to some of those supporting the white supremacists as “very fine people.”
While the relationship held together during the discussions on tax reforms, a person close to the matter claimed that it “was never the same.”
The person also asserted that Cohn had initially planned to remain in the role, but the tariffs issue signaled him that it was time to make an exit.
“Trade was the last straw,” said the person.
Trump had become frustrated with Cohn after attempting to soften trade and was unaware that Cohn was trying to arrange a meeting with auto and bottling industry representative to discuss the impact of the tariffs on their respective industries.
The person stated that the president had no interest in such a meeting and viewed Cohn’s actions as an attempt to deter him from going forward with the plan.
Cohn’s departure is significant as it serves as a loss in a key area of the administration. It also represents a significant shift in what appeared to be a repaired relationship as, just weeks earlier, Cohn was rumored as a possible successor for the Chief of Staff role currently occupied by John Kelly.