This is apparently the week that Donald Trump’s most-overqualified senior staffer shoves his chips to the middle of the table and tells the president that he’s either all in or totally out of an administration that he never should have joined in the first place.
And while we remain pretty skeptical that Gary Cohn is genuinely trying to stay in his West Wing gig at this point, we will go along with the narrative that he is assembling an emergency White House summit with American businessmen to convince Trump that his inchoate tariffs on steel and aluminum are a really bad idea. To go a step further in our willing suspension of disbelief, we will buy into the notion that Gary has drawn a line in the sand with this tariffs decision and that the president is aware of said line. But if Gary Cohn is staging a big showy “summit” to “save” his tenure as Trump’s economic brain, why would invite a bunch of nobodies who actually know about the impacts of steel and aluminum tariffs?
Donald Trump doesn’t give a shit about what some normcore middle-aged cannery executive thinks about his “Tough tariffs.” If Gary was serious about getting this president to pull out of a stupid policy plan, he’d stock the Roosevelt Room with the kind of people that Trump actually listens to on matters of 21st century globalist trade: retired businessmen, NYC developers, and C-list celebs in hot outfits.
For instance – if we were Gary Cohn – the guest list would be easy. Sitting around the table would be Ivanka, Jack Welch, Joe Namath, Clint Eastwood, Richard LeFrak, Kate Upton in a string bikini, the ghost of Roy Cohn, Steve Ross, Antonio Sabato Jr., John Paulson, Toby Keith, a Playboy centerfold from 1992 taped to a chair and Jared Kushner wearing a Mike Pence mask.
You serve Doritos and Chick-Fil-A, get the table to vote on whether tariffs “Suck” or “Rule,” and lickety-splickety; crisis averted!
But here’s the kicker. Gary has been in Trump’s captivity for 14 months now, so he knows that this plan is doomed. In fact, we’re 99% certain that Gary is doing this on purpose, giving himself the rationalization to get out that he’s so desperately craved since he fucked up the whole Charlottesville debacle. And our odds on this being a game of 3D chess escape artistry goes to 100% if one of the execs that Gary invites is a person of color.
This “meeting” is gonna be “great.”