Goldman Sachs president and famously discomfiting conversationalist Gary Cohn just got Donald Trump's nod to direct the National Economic Council. As he takes on his new public-sector gig, Cohn might just have to sidle up beside his new boss, raise a ham and calmly explain the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal – which Cohn apparently supported – to a president-elect who decidedly doesn't.
In April of last year, Cohn sent a chummy email to Michael Froman, the former Citigroup executive and current U.S. Trade Representative. As top negotiator on the TPP, Froman received regular missives from top names in business and industry who were keen to see the deal done.
“Wanted to send along our latest research on US trade policy in case its of interest,” Cohn wrote, attaching a 10-page Goldman Sachs analysis. “Great to see you last weekend,” he added.
The attached paper didn't stoop to outright advocacy – analyst reports seldom do – but it cast the TPP in a broadly positive light. Its title: A Spring Thaw in US Trade Policy.
The cheery email, one of a handful released earlier this year in response to a FOIA request, differs wildly with Trump's characterization of the Obama-supported TPP. “Job killer!” Trump railed over the summer, turning the proposed trade deal into a central campaign topic. He reserved some of his most strident rhetoric for the deal: “The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country,” Trump said.
Clearly Trump and his newest Goldman buddy don't see eye-to-eye on the TPP. But perhaps, with a little help from Cohn, they might eventually see eye-to-grundle.