Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, is leaving the White House after breaking with the US President over trade policy.
Mr Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, had been the leading internal opponent to Mr Trump’s planned tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium.
He tried to orchestrate an eleventh-hour effort to push Mr Trump to reverse course, but the President resisted those efforts, and reiterated Tuesday he would impose the tariffs in coming days.
Bloomberg described the meeting as a “confrontation” where he “demanded” to know whether Mr Cohn would support the tariffs. He refused.
In a statement, Mr Cohn said it was his honour to serve in the administration and “enact pro-growth economic policies to benefit the American people”.
“I am grateful to the President for giving me this opportunity and wish him and the administration great success in the future,” he said in a statement issued by the White House.
Mr Trump praised his former advisor despite the disagreement, saying Mr Cohn had “served his country with great distinction”.
Mr Cohn’s resignation is the latest in what has been described as exodus of White House staff, and comes just a week after the departure of communications director and long-time Trump associate Hope Hicks.
In the first year of the Trump administration, 34 per cent of the President’s staff were either fired, reassigned or resigned.
That is exactly twice the rate of turnover (17 per cent) in Ronald Reagan’s first year in office, 1981, which was the next-highest rate over the past 40 years, according to Kathryn Dunn-Tenpas, a senior fellow at the Washington DC-based Brookings Institution.
Mr Trump earlier Wednesday rejected concerns that he is having trouble filling White House positions.
“Many, many people want every single job,” he said during a media conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.
“Everyone wants to work in the White House.”
Mr Trump said he likes “conflict” on his staff and likes to hear competing policy ideas.
He said that for every vacancy, “I’ll have the choice of the 10 top people having to do with that position” vying for the job.
White House staffers have privately complained about difficulties attracting qualified candidates to the administration, according to the Associated Press.