Setting the Record Straight on Gary Cohn

Setting the Record Straight on Gary Cohn

Gary Cohn resigned on Wednesday as the Director of the National Economic Council and Chief Economic Advisor to Donald Trump.

The media has been very generous to Cohn, writing about how principled he was to resign on the basis of a disagreement with Trump over tariffs.

Cohn had previously threatened to quit after Trump blamed "both sides" for last summer's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.  However, after apparently agonizing over the decision for more than a week and even drafting a resignation letter, he settled for giving an interview in which he suggested that Trump "can and should do better" in the future.

Did economic policy disagreements push Cohn's conscience to a breaking point in a way that an inexplicable failure to condemn neo-Nazis simply couldn't?

If they did, he certainly shouldn’t be hailed by the media as principled.

In fact, what really happened is that Cohn’s certificate of divesture vested on January 20, 2018, allowing him deferment of all of his capital gains, pursuant to section 2634 of Federal Ethics laws.  For Cohn to have acted on his principles following Charlottesville, he would have had to recognize capital gains from his sales before the inauguration.  By waiting, he made hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to bank transparency and the climate crisis. Since co-founding this website in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.

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