Goldman Sachs alumnus Cohn, who heads Trump’s National Economic Council, leads the faction in the administration that favors open-trade policies that have been a hallmark of Republican and Democratic presidents alike for more than half a century.
Most of Wall Street and leaders of many large American corporations argue that open borders expand markets and the global economic pie, enhancing overall U.S. economic and national interests. Goldman Sachs has been a strong advocate for the U.S.-China investment treaty.
Cohn’s team, ensconced on the second floor of the West Wing, is stacked with like-minded veterans of investment banking and noted internationalists, such as Kenneth Juster, a former partner at the global private equity firm Warburg Pincus, and Andrew Quinn, a top negotiator of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that President Obama orchestrated. The pact failed to win congressional approval and Trump buried it when he became president.
At the other camp, ideologically and physically, Peter Navarro presides over a tiny staff as director of the newly created White House National Trade Council, which operates out of a large office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House. So far, Navarro’s office boasts only two desks and a large oil painting depicting an earlier industrial age of blue-uniformed workers building ships in America.