Led by Gary Cohn and Dina Powell — two former Goldman Sachs executives often aligned with Trump’s eldest daughter and his son-in-law — the group and its broad network of allies are the targets of suspicion, loathing and jealousy from their more ideological West Wing colleagues.
.. led by chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who has grown closer to Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in part to counter the New Yorkers.
.. Would he jet to New York at the invitation of Canada’s progressive hero, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to attend a Broadway performance of “Come From Away,” a musical that showcases the generosity of foreigners?
Or would he fly to Nashville to dip his head in reverence at the gravesite of Andrew Jackson and yoke himself to the nationalist legacy of America’s seventh president?
.. An unexpected political marriage has formed between Bannon, with his network of anti-establishment conservative populists, and Priebus, who represents a wing of more traditional Republican operatives.
.. Kushner and Cohn are particularly close with the Cabinet’s industry barons — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — as well as Chris Liddell and Reed Cordish, two businessmen recruited by Kushner to work on long-term projects.
.. many people inside and outside the White House frequently note the growing visibility of Cohn and Powell and wonder if they might eventually gain influence over Trump’s message and moderate it from Bannon-style populism, especially if the president’s popularity wanes further.
.. The tug at Trump forces near-daily decisions between following his tendency to gravitate toward those he considers highly successful in business and maintaining the combative political persona cheered by many conservatives.
.. Trump expanded Powell’s portfolio this past week, naming her deputy national security adviser for strategy in addition to her post as senior counselor for economic initiatives.
Born in Egypt and fluent in Arabic, Powell is taking on a more visible role in foreign affairs.
.. Powell has tapped the network she cultivated as a George W. Bush administration official and as president of Goldman’s philanthropic foundation
.. [Cohen] is opinionated and sharp-elbowed, walking between offices with the swagger befitting a banking titan
.. He is seen internally as a contender for chief of staff should Priebus exit, though one senior official noted, “Nobody wants Reince’s job here. I can tell you that with certainty.”
.. Last month when two dozen manufacturing chief executivesvisited the White House, Trump singled out Cohn by noting his vast wealth.
“You all know Gary from Goldman,” Trump said. “Gary Cohn — and we’re really happy — just paid $200 million in tax in order to take this job, by the way.”..Trump enjoys having the rich and powerful reporting to him.. A competition over Trump’s trade and economic agenda is brewing between Cohn and Peter Navarro
.. Cohn shrugged off Navarro’s ideas as almost irrelevant, according to two officials. Trump stepped into the conversation and defended Navarro and his point of view.
.. Priebus has been frustrated with Cohn and Powell for what he sees as short-circuiting his process by communicating directly with the president
.. “The president wants W’s — he wants wins,” Kudlow said. “That’s key to understanding this bit of change in the whole outlook. He’s trying to get W’s and have Congress work with him, and he’s looking to lots of people to get them.”