In our preview this morning, we noted that it seemed odd that Trump's tax speech had reportedly been drafted by White House aide Stephen Miller, the leader of the nationalist arm of the White House staff, as opposed to his Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn.
While notable because it indicated that Trump might return to his populist roots in his first tax reform cheerleading session, most didn't ascribe any more value to the information than that.
That is until Trump took the stage earlier this afternoon and thanked a litany of advisors for their help in crafting his tax policies but noticeably left out Gary Cohn. As The Hill notes, Trump gave credit to everyone from Mnuchin to Linda McMahon and host of local Missouri politicians but seemingly snubbed Cohn.
As Trump took the stage in Springfield, Mo., to kick off his tax reform push, he welcomed his administration's major players in the debate who joined him at the event but failed to mention Cohn, who was also there.
Trump specifically named Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon, who flew with the president to the event.
Trump went on to name the long list of Missouri lawmakers who sat in the crowd, joking at one point that he debated whether to name them all because "I have so many."
Of course, this could mean absolutely nothing, or it could mean that there was more to the rumors that surfaced over the weekend and last week about rising tensions between Cohn and Trump.
Over the weekend, Axios noted rising tensions over tariffs and a continued power struggle between Trump and the "globalists" in the White House who continued to resist the President's controversial economic agenda in the absence of Steve Bannon.
"John, you haven't been in a trade discussion before, so I want to share with you my views. For the last six months, this same group of geniuses comes in here all the time and I tell them...
'Tariffs. I want tariffs.' And what do they do? They bring me IP. I can't put a tariff on IP."
"China is laughing at us,... Laughing."
"John, I want you to know, this is my view. I want tariffs. And I want someone to bring me some tariffs."
"John, let me tell you why they didn't bring me any tariffs," he said.
"I know there are some people in the room right now that are upset. I know there are some globalists in the room right now. And they don't want them, John, they don't want the tariffs. But I'm telling you, I want tariffs."
Meanwhile, this latest sign of a 'stressed' relationship also comes after Cohn expressed some concerns to the FT over how Trump handled the Charottesville tragedy. The interview resulted in immediate speculation that Cohn's resignation was imminent. Here was our take from last week:
As discussed earlier, in an unexpectedly harsh response to Trump's Charlottesville comments, Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn said in an FT interview published this morning that the administration needs to be more unequivocal in condemning hate groups, but added he was “reluctant” to quit over its response to a recent protest.'
"I believe this administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups and do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities,” Cohn told the FT in his first public comments since the controversy.
Cohn said that as a “patriotic American” he did not want to leave his job as the director of the national economic council. “But I also feel compelled to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks.” He added that “Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the K.K.K.,” Mr. Cohn said. “I believe this administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups and do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities.”
Cohn added, “As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting ‘Jews will not replace us’ to cause this Jew to leave his job” and said that Trump’s administration said that the White House “can and must do better” in consistently condemning hate groups. Cohn’s remarks were in stark contrast to a statement from the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, who defended the president. Mnuchin is also Jewish, and is also a former Goldman employee.
Then again, maybe it's just all a big misunderstanding....
Re: Gary, WH spox emails to note that staff is typically not called out in prepared remarks, only Cabinet members. So not intentional slight— Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) August 30, 2017
What say you? Media attempt to "criminalize behavior that is normal"...or is Yellen safe in her Fed seat for just a little longer?