Trump's tariffs intended as 'middle finger' to White House aides he no longer likes: report
Donald Trump (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

President Donald Trump doesn't like being told what to do, and he's reportedly setting policies to thumb his nose at advisers who have lost his trust.


Trump has sidelined chief of staff John Kelly and economic adviser Gary Cohn and intends to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum, which he's wanted to do since the campaign, to deliberately disrespect them, reported Axios.

"His staff at times managed to talk him off the ledge. No more," reported Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan. "Tired of the restraints, tired of his staff, Trump is reveling in ticking off just about every person who serves him."

Trump has grown to despise Kelly's authority and purposefully bypassed his process to announce the tariffs, which triggered a stock market dip, and were intended as a "middle finger" to Cohn, the website reported.

Kelly is engaged in a power struggle with Trump's children and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Cohn seems likely to leave now that he's lost the fight on tariffs.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster, who Trump regards as long-winded and opinionated, is also reportedly on his way out of the White House.

Senior officials and staff tried to slow-walk the process on tariffs, possibly in hopes that he would lose interest, but Axios reported that he "finally exploded" when aides wouldn't give him what he's wanted since before launching his campaign.

"Staff can try to impose their views on Trump," Axios reported. "But when it comes to trade — the one thing he’s believed consistently for 30 years — they will inevitably fail."