Fear - Trump in the White House
Bob Woodward
Contributed by Larisa Brooke
Chapter 7

Gary Cohn, the president of Goldman Sachs, receives an invitation from Kushner about a meeting with Trump. The meeting is only supposed to last for only ten minutes (Woodward 60). However, they have much to discuss and Cohn has a lot to offer in terms of growing the economy. The business executive is an idealistic individual, and he shows Trump different ways of ensuring that the economy grows enormously without taking many risks (Woodward 61). Clearly, Cohn seems fit for the Treasury office. However, Trump has already appointed Steve Mnuchin as the secretary of treasury, despite an official announcement not having been made. Due to this reason, Trump tries to convince Cohn to take another position in the government and Cohn rejects them all (Woodward 63). At last, Trump claims that he appointed the wrong person as Secretary of the Treasury, and he asks Cohn to think about the job. Mnuchin is present during the meeting and he does not react at that moment, however, moments later there is a breaking news story claiming that Trump appointed Mnuchin as the Secretary of the Treasury (Woodward 63).

This news does not stop Cohn from seeking advice from other Goldman Sachs executive members who previously worked in the government. Robert Rubin and Cohn’s wife guide him to taking up the job of the Director of the National Economic Council (Woodward 63). Trump accepts the proposal and gives Cohn the job right away. Priebus seems worried about the immediate, on-the-spot hires but Trump assures him that Cohn is going to be perfectly suited for the role (Woodward 64). The author also talks about the interview he had with Michael Flynn, Trump’s newly designated national security adviser. The phone interview shows the views held by Flynn regarding Russia, ISIS, and testing of nuclear weapons.


Trump is still trying to construct his government systematically. It is clear that he needs the best individuals in each field, and it is for this reason that he meets Cohn. Everything Cohn tells Trump is relevant and makes sense when it comes to economic growth. Additionally, Woodward paints Cohn as a directed and principled individual who approaches the situation with care rather than greed. This comes considering that Cohn rejects all the jobs Trump offers him since he is well aware of his lack of experience in such fields. He only wants a job that deals with the economy, and the treasury is a good fit. Woodward paints Mnuchin in a different light, the antithesis to Cohn, as Mnuchin’s leaking of the news that Trump has appointed him, shows his greed, ambition and aggression.

Besides, Woodward continues to show Cohn’s modest behavior as Cohn seeks advice from other knowledgeable individuals who guide him in selecting a job that suits him. Further, Trump’s decision to hire Cohn on the spot shows that he is trusting, and he knows Cohn’s capabilities well.

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