With the departure of President Trump’s top economic adviser and stabilizing force Gary Cohn, an unsettling power vacuum is taking hold of the Trump White House, making it even more vulnerable to the president’s lost-in-the-dark stumbles and wild, random shifts that send the entire government careening after his latest whim.
“For a year, Cohn had felt like he was beating his head against a brick wall, leading Groundhog Day tutorials on the benefits of free trade and the danger of tariffs,” Mike Allen writes in Axios of economic adviser Gary Cohn, according to his West Wing sources.
“Worse, warn several officials, there is little to no succession planning to quickly fill vacancies with top-flight talent.”
Because Trump was a bottom barrel candidate, he never attracted top tier talent in the first place. The people who were willing to work for him and knew what they were doing are quickly being separated from the president, a function of both the moral lapses Trump tends to attract and feel most comfortable around and/or an unwillingness to go where this president last jerked the wheel.
For Cohn, it was tariffs. But he had long lamented the situation.
“I’ve got to tell you. I’m working at like 20 percent of my capacity,” Cohn said to the President and Chief of Staff John Kelly in February, according to Axios.
Cohn’s departure amidst Trump’s metal tariff threats threatening a global trade war spooked the market, which was just righting itself from Trump’s previous chaos. The Dow was down 270 points, the S&P was down 0.86 percent and the Nasdaq was down 0.75 percent Wednesday morning.
A dangerous power vacuum arises when someone has lost control of something and there is no one to replace them or prop up their failure to lead. Translation: If you thought last year was bumpy, you ain’t seen nothing yet.