WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Donald Trump bid farewell to his outgoing top economic adviser, calling him a “globalist” who is nonetheless “terrific.”
“This is Gary Cohn’s last meeting in the Cabinet,” Trump said Thursday at the meeting. “He’s been terrific. He may be a globalist, but I still like him. He is seriously a globalist. There’s no question. In his own way, but you know what, he’s a nationalist. He loves our country.”
Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, made a similar statement on Tuesday on the official OMB Twitter feed.
“As a right-wing conservative and founding member of the Freedom Caucus, I never expected that the coworker I would work closest, and best, with at the White House would be a ‘globalist,'” he said in wishing Cohn well.
“Globalist” has been used by the Republican Party’s far-right wing to describe those who, like Cohn, favor free trade, as opposed to staunch protectionists. Trump’s White House staff has been depicted as divided between “globalists” like Cohn, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and “nationalists” like former chief strategist Steve Bannon, trade adviser Peter Navarro and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
That usage of globalist has overlapped on the “alt-right” with anti-Semitic connotations. Cohn, Kushner and Mnuchin are all Jewish.
Trump, in a move last week that surprised many of his top advisers, called for stiff tariffs on the import of steel and aluminum. That reportedly triggered Cohn’s departure from the administration.
Cohn reportedly considered quitting last August after Trump equivocated in his condemnation of neo-Nazis and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia. A white supremacist rammed counterprotesters with his car during that march, killing one and injuring at least 20 others.