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Trump uses antisemitic dogwhistle during Gary Cohn's sendoff

12 March 2018

In a statement, President Trump said, "Gary has been my chief economic adviser and did a superb job in driving our agenda, helping to deliver historic tax cuts and reforms and unleashing the American economy once again".

President Donald Trump arrives with Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn at the U.S. Capitol to meet with House Republicans ahead of their vote on the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" in Washington, on November 16, 2017. He's seriously a globalist, there's no question.

Trump's quips were met with laughter from those in attendance at the Cabinet meeting. "I am grateful to the President for giving me this opportunity and wish him and the Administration great success in the future".

One is Peter Navarro, the adviser on trade and industrial policy at the White House who pushed Trump to adopt the new steel and aluminum tariffs.

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The president reiterated that he would levy tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum but would "have a right to go up or down depending on the country and I'll have a right to drop out countries or add countries". "Yup, absolutely", he replied.

President Trump has entered into a trade war with his own party, announcing sweeping - but flexible - tariffs on steel and aluminum importers while keeping Republican lawmakers who opposed the move in the dark about the plan's details until just before they were announced.

Cohn's position with Trump had been tenuous since last summer, when Cohn rebuked the President over his comments about a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Despite being thwarted by Cohn and other more traditional thinkers in the White House during the first year of the Trump administration, aspects of Navarro's philosophy still surfaced.

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On Thursday, however, Trump suggested that Cohn was a "globalist", a term that carries xenophobic sentiments and has been used by other members of his administration in more derogatory ways. Trump didn't back down and is set to sign the tariffs into law on Thursday.

Trump has not made a firm decision, those briefed on the process said.

Speaking with reporters little more than a hour before news of Cohn's departure surfaced, Trump said that "I like conflict" and "I like having two people with different points of view, and I certainly have that".

Others persuaded Trump to follow through on his campaign rhetoric, led by Navarro and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

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"They buy those start-up companies that are on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence, robotics and everything we're gonna need", he said. A White House official said Trump was referencing an ongoing investigation of China in which the USA trade representative is studying whether Chinese intellectual property rules are "unreasonable or discriminatory" to American business.

Trump uses antisemitic dogwhistle during Gary Cohn's sendoff