Trump offers Goldman executive Cohn key economic post: NBC
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Friday was expected to name a senior Goldman Sachs banker to coordinate economic policy across his administration, turning again to Wall Street for expertise in managing the world’s largest economy.
Trump’s pick of Gary Cohn, 56, the firm’s president and chief operating officer, to head his White House National Economic Council, reported by NBC and other media outlets, comes despite Trump’s past criticism of Wall Street’s power.
Trump hammered Goldman and its Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein during the presidential campaign, releasing a television ad that called Blankfein part of a “global power structure” that had robbed America’s working class.
The anti-Goldman message rankled some on Wall Street, although several alums of the bank had major roles in Trump’s campaign and are bound for senior administration posts.
“That Trump is willing to take this step does suggest the political risk to the biggest banks may be diminishing,” said Jaret Seiberg, an analyst at Cowen & Co.
The NEC coordinates economic policy across federal agencies and if Cohn takes the post he will follow former Goldman executives Robert Rubin and Stephen Friedman in that role.
Cohn was widely seen as Blankfein’s heir apparent and his exit may give rise to a new group of leaders at the bank, most of whom have spent more than 20 years there.
A Goldman Sachs spokesman was not immediately available for comment. Trump’s transition team had no immediate comment.
Cohn is a former Goldman commodities trader from Ohio who joined the firm in 1990. He served in a variety of leadership roles in bond trading, becoming co-head of Goldman’s broader securities and eventually co-president in 2006.
Cohn would join at least two other former Goldman bankers in the Trump administration, including Treasury Secretary-designate Steven Mnuchin and White House adviser Steve Bannon.
The abundance of Wall Street faces on his team exposes Trump to criticism he is veering away from pledges to protect American workers from powerful interests.
“Gary Cohn’s bank helped cause the 2008 financial crisis (and) he shouldn’t have anything to do with America’s economic policies,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress, a left-leaning nonprofit group.
Trump is also expected to pick U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Washington state and an advocate of increased oil and gas development who is skeptical about climate change, to run the Department of the Interior, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.
(This story has been refiled to add Cohn’s dropped first name in 2nd paragraph)
(Reporting by Jason Lange in Washington and Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by Tim Ahmann and James Dalgleish)