Welp, it looks like Gary Cohn finally took our advice.
The Big Grundle has finally escaped his voluntary bondage as Donald Trump's National Economic Council Director after what we would generously refer to as "a wet shitshow nightmare" that somehow lasted more than 13 months.
A lot of people were aghast when the Number Two at Goldman Sachs took a senior role in the Trump White House because the optics of "Government Sachs" are never popular. But in this White House, Gary Cohn was just what the doctor ordered. He was the guy that made Goldman tick, Lloyd Blankfein's enforcer, a tough guy that understood markets. Gary might have been a Wall Street animal but he was also animal that understood Wall Street and 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. suddenly looked a lot like a zoo. Suddenly, Gary Cohn was the good guy.
His mere presence in this White House became an emotional pacifier for the finance industry as it lay in the darkness of night contemplating what havoc Trump could really wreak on the global economy come morning. Gary Cohn was the adult in the room, the guy who actually knew what he was talking about, the bona fide Wall Street macher who would be able to bend the mercurial Trump to his will. Even centrist Republicans took cold comfort that Gary was a millionaire Democrat.
At the very least, Gary could convince everyone to act in the best interest of the markets because this president fetishizes the market and views them as a real-time gauge of his success. When Gary took umbrage with Trump praising Neo-Nazis last summer, rumors abounded that he was planning to leave the White House and the market shuddered. It became clearer than ever that Wall Street trusted Gary Cohn in a way that it didn't trust anyone else in Trump's unstable orbit. Gary was the low-key...key to The Trump Bump, and his participation in the passage of a massive corporate tax reform package only cemented that perception.
That is all over now, because Gary Cohn has fled this White House. And he fled this White House because this White House is an untamable asylum of madness and chaos. So don't look at the futures market, just drink something strong and go to bed.
But let's not blame Gary Cohn, because as hard as we've been on him, even we cannot believe that Gary Cohn hung in there as long as he did.
Let's review. Since last January, Gary left a corner office at Goldman Sachs, one of the most comfortable perches on the globe, and he had to do so inside an organization so cripplingly dysfunctional that sawed-off nobodies like Steve Mnuchin, Jared Kushner and Pete Navarro got to refer to the former president and COO of Goldman Sachs as their "colleague." Gary Cohn was never the equal of these clowns, he was their better. Mnuchin was a Goldman legacy who couldn't hack it at daddy's firm, Jared ran a real estate company that Goldman wouldn't have touched with Morgan Stanley's dick and Pete Navarro...well, Gary Cohn spent a successful career ignoring maniacs like Pete Navarro. Here's a fun thought experiment: Imagine Pete Navarro interviewing for any job at Goldman Sachs.
This tariffs insanity is indeed just the final straw in a litany of bullshit humblings that Gary Cohn has been forced to endure in this administration. This is a man who understands the upside potency of research, debate, quorum and risk, so watching Wilbur Ross wander into the oval office like a human Silver Alert and convince the president to get into a trade war because Trump just lost his hot, young comms director and Wilbur finally read Navarro's book about China being evil is the kind of shit that will make a guy take stock in a way that neo-Nazi appeasement and kleptocratic instincts frankly, well, don't.
We never understood why Gary Cohn wanted to join up with this White House and we really wanted him to quit, but now that he's gone it feels like a cold wind is blowing through our psyche. This is much scarier than we thought it would be.
And if you don't understand that feeling, consider this: Steve Mnuchin is now the most senior mainstream economic official in this administration to have worked at Goldman Sachs. Also, Trump is reportedly considering replacing Cohn with Navarro or Larry fucking Kudlow.