It’s time to Break It Down!
Yesterday Gary Cohn, Trump’s top Economic Adviser resigned. Cohn resigned after losing a political and ideological debate with the President. A disagreement which centered around the virtue, or lack thereof, regarding the steel and aluminum tariffs that Trump has insisted he will impose, even on our closest trading partners, Canada and Mexico. This was not Cohn’s first occasion finding himself at cross-purposes with Trump. Last year in August, when Trump found it excruciatingly difficult to condemn white supremacists and Nazis after their disruptive activity in Charlottesville, VA, some reports contended Cohn nearly resigned.
In an interview with the Financial Times, conducted Thursday after the Charlottesville incident, Cohn, a high profile Jewish member of the administration and former Goldman Sachs executive, said Trump’s handling of the violence and protests (Trump condemned violence “on many sides,” drawing immediate backlash) caused him “distress.” He added:
“The administration can and must do better to condemn hate groups.”
In some corners, folks are noting that at least in resigning now, Cohn established that he really does have a red line regarding the President’s actions. While it apparently was not the President’s failure to issue a full-throated disavowal of white nationalists and Nazis, infuriating America’s major trading partners was simply a bridge too far for the free trade advocate. That did the trick. In full disclosure, it is also worth noting that Cohn coveted, and was vying to become the next Federal Reserve Chairman. In as much as that ship sailed in January when Jerome Powell was confirmed as the new Fed Chair, if Cohn is once again mad as hell, there is now no residual need to take it anymore. So he didn’t!
In case this development seems like “just another chaotic day in TrumpWorld, and it clearly does, Mr. Cohn’s exit reminds me of a narrative I touched upon over 5 months ago, when I cited a least 30 individuals and two entire Councils that had been dismissed, or who had resigned from the Trump administration. That list follows:
- General Michael Flynn – National Security Advisor (resigned) – 22 days
- Sean Spicer – Press Secretary (resigned) – 182 days
- Anthony Scaramucci – Director of Communications (fired) – 10 days
- Reince Priebus – Chief of Staff (resigned) – 189 days
- Steve Bannon (mutual agreement) – 210 days
- Sebastian Gorka (unclear) – 217 days
- Carl Ichan (resigned) – 210 days
- White House Manufacturing Council (dissolved) – 201 days
- White House Economic Council (dissolved) – 201 days
- Denise Morrison – Advisory Council (resigned) – 201 days
- Inge Thulin – Advisory Council (resigned) 201 days
- Thea Lee – Advisory Council (resigned) 200 days
- Scott Paul – Advisory Council (resigned) 200 days
- Richard Trumka – Advisory Council (resigned) 200 days
- Kenneth C. Frazier – Advisory Council (resigned) – 199 days
- Kevin Plank – Advisory Council – (resigned) – 199 days
- Brian Krzanich – Advisory Council (resigned) – 199 days
- Derek Harvey National Security Council Advisor (fired) – 186 days
- Michael Short Assistant Press Secretary (resigned) – 186 days
- Walter Shaub Director Office of Government Ethics (resigned) – 180 days – (resigned)
- Robert Iger – Advisory Council (resigned) – 133 days (resigned)
- Elon Musk – Advisory Council (resigned) – 132 days
- Mike Dubke – Director of Communications (resigned) – 85 days
- McFarland – Deputy National Security Advisor (resigned) 117 days
- James Comey – FBI Director (fired) – 109 days
- Angela Reid – Chief Usher (fired) – 105 days
- Katie Walsh – Deputy White House Chief of Staff (resigned) – 69 days
- Craig Deare – National Security Council Senior Director (fired) – 26 days
- Travis Kalanick – Advisory Council (resigned) – 13 days
- Sally Yates – Acting Attorney General – fired – 10 days
As you might imagine, and rightfully so, the list has only grown since that August 30th Post (https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2017/08/30/hurricane-harvey-unprecedented-and-fortuitously-timely/). I can no longer be held responsible for ensuring that the list is complete. It does change frequently. In an effort to hit the high points, here are some of the people who have seen the light, and escaped, been forced to resign, or in straight-up “Apprentice-fashion,” fired, since that Wednesday in August.
- Tom Price Health & Human Services Secretary – Resigned in September (Travelgate)
- Dina Powell Deputy National Security Adviser – Resigned in December (A former George W. Bush administration official, said to have left on good terms)
- Omarosa Menigault Newman Communications Officer – Resigned in December (Said to have been forcibly escorted off the White House property; call it resigned if you like}
- Brenda Fitzgerald CDC Director – Resigned in January (Tobaccogate)
- Rob Porter Staff Secretary – Resigned (Technically; in reality, he was fired) in February (Spouse Beating Syndrome/which he denied)
- Hope Hicks White House Communications Director – Resigned in February (Muellered)
- Gary Cohn Economic Adviser – Resigned in March (Not Promoted)
Outside of Trump’s head, and the Fox News bubble, which I surmise has probably been arranged to portray a reasonable facsimile of the inside of Trump’s head, many observers and a host of news outlets have concluded the administration is immersed in chaos. Not surprisingly, Trump has dismissed this verifiably logical conclusion. He, in fact, insists that his White House is filled with positive energy. Yesterday at his news conference he argued he would have his pick of “ten top people” for the openings in his White House. “There is no chaos, only great energy!”
“Everybody wants to be there. And they love this White House because we have energy like rarely before. OK?”
While some Republicans have expressed reservations about whether they would like to work for the Trump White House, the President’s take on the matter is, “Maybe people don’t want to work for Trump, but everybody wants to work in the White House. Not only does it look good on a resume, but the White House is a great place to work; it’s got tremendous energy.”
Even among insiders at the Trump White House, there are those who see more chaos than that unlimited source of great energy the President claims. But that’s a conversation for another day. After contemplating the significance of the Trump Administration’s revolving staff door, I believe I’ve found an island of virtue in the midst of a sea of despair. The President has a jewel of a plan to keep his campaign promise. “Draining The Swamp: One Former Trump Appointee at a Time!”
I’m done, holla back!
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