US/World News

Trump names top Jewish Goldman Sachs official to economic post

(JTA) — President-elect Donald Trump has named Gary Cohn, president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs, to serve as head of the White House National Economic Council, his latest of several picks from a company he consistently attacked during his campaign. Cohn, 56, is a native of Cleveland. In 2009, he funded the Cohn Jewish Student Center at Kent State University named for his parents. Cohn joins Goldman Sachs alumnus Steve Mnuchin, the designated Treasury secretary, and Bayo Ogunlesi, a member of Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum who is on the Wall Street firm’s board.

At Goldman Sachs, Cohn answers to CEO Lloyd Blankfein who was vilified in Trump’s final campaign ad, which echoed antisemitic conspiracy theories by matching Jewish faces to themes of global control. During the campaign, the Republican candidate accused the bank of being in “total, total control” of his primaries rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, and the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. Trump has not directly addressed why he is hiring people from a sector he disparaged, but has said he wants proven job creators and money makers on his team. Cohn has a reputation for abrasiveness, but also for getting things done, according to a Wall Street Journal profile last year. In a 2014 New York Times op-ed, Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith wrote on the day he resigned that Blankfein and Cohn were responsible for a “decline in the firm’s moral fibre” that placed the firm’s interests above those of its clients.

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