Trump set to name top Jewish Goldman Sachs official to economic post

Cohn has a reputation for abrasiveness, but also for getting things done.

December 9, 2016 23:22
1 minute read.
Gary Cohn

Gary Cohn being sworn in before testifying before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 30, 2010.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump reportedly is set to name a top Goldman Sachs official to coordinate his administration’s economic policy, his latest of several picks from a company he consistently attacked during his campaign.

NBC reported Friday that Trump would name Gary Cohn, the financial firm’s president and CEO, as the head of the White House National Economic Council. The Trump transition team would not comment on the report.

Cohn, 56, is a native of Cleveland. In 2009, he funded the Cohn Jewish Student Center at Kent State University named for his parents.

Cohn is the latest Goldman Sachs banker or alumnus Trump has named to his government. He joins alumnus Steve Mnuchin, the designated Treasury secretary, and Bayo Ogunlesi, a member of Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum who is on the Wall Street firm’s board.

Cohn answers to Lloyd Blankfein, the bank’s CEO, who was vilified in Trump’s final campaign ad, which echoed anti-Semitic conspiracy theories by matching Jewish faces to themes of global control. During the campaign, the Republican candidate accused the bank of being in “total, total control” of his primaries rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

Trump has not directly addressed why he is hiring people from a sector he disparaged, but has said he wants proven job creators and money makers on his team.

Cohn has a reputation for abrasiveness, but also for getting things done, according to a Wall Street Journal profile last year. In a 2014 New York Times op-ed, Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith wrote on the day he resigned that Blankfein and Cohn were responsible for a “decline in the firm’s moral fiber” that placed the firm’s interests above those of its clients.

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