It always hurts a president when a former staffer makes a conflicting statement with key platform issues, but this one was a real surprise considering how the China deal worked out.
Gary Cohn, the former White House economic adviser, recently blasted Trump on his insistence on sanctions and tarrifs to get trade deals done with China.
They Never Helped
Cohn, from what we have read, had a decent enough relationship with Trump, but he wholeheartedly disagreed on using tariffs to gain leverage.
In fact, it was Trump’s decision to levy heavy duties on aluminum and steel that caused Cohn to resign from the administration.
When Trump signed the Phase One trade deal with China last week, the administration touted the tariffs as a major reason China came back to the table to work out a deal.
Cohn, however, believes the tariffs have done more harm than good.
He stated, “I don’t think the tariffs helped us get to any different outcome.”
Cohn then added, “I think it’s totally hurt the United States.
“Look, the U.S. economy is very strong, very solid.
“Employment growth is great.
“But we’re missing a big component. We’re missing the capital expenditures from companies in the United States.”
.@Gary_D_Cohn on leaving the White House:
"At the end of the day, he was going a different direction on some of the trade negotiations than I would have gone. I agreed fundamentally on what the issue was. I just didn't agree on how to solve the issue"https://t.co/rMEcA1JcCd pic.twitter.com/4nUO6FaLgr
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 19, 2020
But They Worked…
Cohn may not agree with tariffs and sanctions but so far, they have been a very effective tool for this administration.
In addition to bringing China to the table, Trump was also able to replace NATFTA with the USMCA deal, which most would agree is far better than what had been in place before.
Cohn stated that he and Trump agreed on the problems, but it was how Trump wanted to go about solving these problems where they differed on opinion.
Democrats and pundits, of course, have latched onto this to show a dysfunctional White House, but Cohn is now gone and these deals are getting done, so whose approach worked and whose did not?
Cohn also shed some light on the private president versus the public persona of Trump.
He stated, “What you see on TV is exactly what you get in private with the president.
“The president is the same person behind closed doors as he is out in public, which is a unique feature.
“You know, it’s not like he turns it on or turns it off when he walks outside. So you’ve seen everything the president has. That’s exactly what you see when you’re in a private meeting with him.”