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Tariff fiasco costs Trump ally in Gary Cohn

Tariff fiasco costs Trump ally in Gary Cohn

When he described Cohn as a globalist Trump drew a smiles from cabinet members around the table, including Cohn himself who was sitting behind the president.

With Trump, you never know.

But if the WTO affirms Trump's justification for tariffs, it could encourage other countries to follow the US example: They could use national security as a pretext for tariffs of their own.

But Trump's recent announcement that he plans to slap across-the-board tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, coming on top of tariffs announced in January on Chinese solar panels and South Korean washing machines, have dashed hopes of presidential moderation.

The words prompted a round of applause, including from Trump, who thanked Cohn for his service.




As the president ponders a replacement for Cohn, director of the president's National Economic Council, aides said at least two of the possible names have opposing views on trade.

"It looks a little nasty when you watch it on the news, or as I sometimes call it, the Fake News", Trump said. And while the full economic impact remains unknown, the political fallout was swift with the top Republican in Congress Paul Ryan publicly denouncing Trump's move, and vowing to push him to narrow its focus to "countries and practices that violate trade law". "He's not quite as strong on those tariffs".

Likewise, Trump's invitation to countries to plead their case for being exempted from the tariffs might prove a tough sell. He waited as tariff decision deadlines set by Ross ticked closer, and the White House turned its attention back to trade after deciding to table the divisive issue while it worked on health care and taxes. Those warnings intensified fears of a destructive tit-for-tat trade war - especially when Trump threatened to respond to European sanctions with further USA tariffs on auto imports from Europe. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, floated the possibility of legislation to limit Trump's ability to impose tariffs or to require congressional approval, though there's no indication any such plan could garner the necessary veto-proof margin for passage. As a candidate, he campaigned on a promise to bring back American jobs and place American interests first on the global stage, a sharp departure from the policies of his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.

Other countries, too, could be spared, the president said, if they can convince the administration that their steel and aluminum exports don't threaten American industry. The bill slashed taxes for 90 percent of working Americans and reduced the tax burden for businesses across the board.

Trump, who has cast tariffs as an effort to protect American manufacturing jobs, told delegates at a Latino Coalition Legislative Summit on Wednesday that he is pursuing a "rebirth of the American Dream", and will continue to do so. No Democrats voted for the measure. He was second-in-command at Goldman Sachs before Trump offered him the job in December of 2016.


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