The short version of the White House political calculus is that as Steve Bannon's political fortunes fall, Jared Kushner's rise. But another name is being increasingly mentioned along with Kushner's, that of National Economic Council director Gary Cohn. In a profile of Cohn, the Washington Post says he and "like minded moderates" are on a roll, having persuaded President Trump to shift course toward more mainstream economic policies such as easing up on China. For those unfamiliar with Cohn, two big details are pertinent about his resume: He's a former president of Goldman Sachs (and thus is very, very rich, per CNN) and he's a registered Democrat. Now, his star is rising so fast in the White House that the Post says he's being mentioned as a possible chief of staff if Reince Priebus goes.
As Dealbreaker puts it, "Cohn has finally learned how to operate Donald Trump." But Cohn's apparent influence has raised concerns among hardline conservatives. Rush Limbaugh, for example, has called him "a very ideological liberal Democrat." At Vox, however, Matthew Yglesias pushes back against the notion that Cohn is some kind of left-leaning moderate, and David Dayen at the Nation echoes the point. Yes, Cohn is "honorary president" now, but that should alarm "any American outside of an executive suite," Dayen writes. "If you liked Goldman Sachs pulling the strings in Washington, you’re going to love it when they’re actually running the show directly." (Another name that appears to be on the rise within the White House: Dina Powell.)