For several weeks, Cohn had been discussing with the President that it was nearing time for him to transition out.
On 8 March 2018 President Donald Trump repeated an often-derided claim regarding the USA trade deficit during a press conference in the White House. "A month ago, Mr. Trump picked up the phone and called an aide to say he had just seen Mr. Navarro on TV and was impressed".
One of President Trump's campaign promises was to rebuild the United States steel and aluminium industries, which he claimed have suffered "disgraceful" treatment from other countries, in particular Chinese imports.
The president also said he expects Cohn to make millions after he leaves the White House and hopes that the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive will return to the administration before his presidency is up. Most Republicans in Congress grew up in a party deeply devoted to the belief in free trade and open markets and opposed to the kind of protectionist action Mr. Trump's new move represents.
"I mean seriously a globalist, there's no question", Trump said. The influential bank has produced Treasury secretaries, White House chiefs of staff and top economic advisers in Republican and Democratic administrations.
When he described Cohn as a globalist Trump drew a smiles from cabinet members around the table, including Cohn himself who was sitting behind the president.
"If there's a trade war and in response, tariffs are raised, that could even push down our supply in steel because it pushes down the demand", Professor Dempsey added.
Speaker Paul Ryan and the president's business advisers are warning him of the unintended consequences of his irresponsible and disconnected decision-making on trade policy. The difficulty America now finds itself in is that while Trump's understanding of the trade issue is extremely poor, he does seem to realize that - and he has neither a competent team nor a coherent process to help him navigate the situation.
"I think that's incredibly cynical and misguided", says Edward Alden, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Cohn reportedly considered quitting last August after Trump equivocated in his condemnation of neo-Nazis and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has tried to use the tariffs as leverage in ongoing talks to renegotiate NAFTA, suggesting Canada and Mexico might be exempted from tariffs if they offer more favorable terms under the trade agreement. He mentioned that Kim wants to meet with Trump as soon as possible.
The EU said it was prepared to respond to any tariffs with counter-measures against US products such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Levi's jeans and bourbon.