White House director of strategic initiatives eyed to replace Cohn: report
White House Director of Strategic Initiatives Christopher Liddell is President Trump’s top choice to replace outgoing economic adviser Gary Cohn, according to The New York Times.
Liddell would fulfill Trump’s desire to have his National Economic Council headed by a prominent business executive, the Times noted.
Opponents of Liddell, who joined the administration early last year and has worked closely with the president’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, say that his record in the administration has not been notable enough for the position, according to the report. His supporters, however, tout Liddell’s experience as the chief financial officer at Microsoft and General Motors, it added.
Liddell also worked as executive director of Mitt Romney’s presidential transition team in 2012.
Cohn, who announced his resignation last week, has reportedly favored his deputy, Shahira Knight, to take over as director of the National Economic Council, but officials say that Knight is uninterested in the position.
Unlike Cohn, Liddell might be more willing to cooperate with the president’s populist policy agenda.
After the 2016 election, he told the New Zealand publication Scoop that “the days of unbridled free trade and unbridled free markets are over.”
Cohn — a strong supporter of free trade — said he would leave the administration after being unable to prevent the president from imposing tariffs.
Trump announced this week a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. Mexico, Canada and Australia have been exempted from the tariffs and Trump has left open the possibility that other nations could get exemptions.
Cohn’s successor could be announced as early as this week, the Times noted.
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