Splinter AM: Clio's Top 10 — Cohn Out 


1 big thing: ThunderCohn

Scoop: After Gary Cohn announced his resignation, Donald Trump gleefully shouted “I’m free!” and demanded aides bring him Reese’s Puffs for breakfast, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. (Cohn was known to put his foot down when it came to the president’s unhealthy dietary choices.)

  • “Listen,” Cohn told the president, according to a source who is definitely not Cohn himself. “Have you seen the movie Lucy, where Scarlett Johansson finally accesses 100% of her brain’s capacity at the end of the movie? Right now I feel like I’m Scarlett at the beginning of the movie, where only 10% of my brain is working.”
  • For months, Cohn has felt that the president has ignored his advice—especially on tariffs—and was not using his talents to the fullest extent. This left him frustrated.
  • After dunking the basketball through the hoop ring on tax cuts, Cohn thought he could keep the president on the right path. But the battle over tariffs was apparently Cohn’s last straw.
  • Sources inform me that Hope Hicks told Cohn in a voice that barely registered above a whisper right before her own departure last week: “Look Gary, I’m leaving first. You need to wait until next week so this doesn’t look bad for the president.”
  • Trump would be willing to hire Cohn back for a bigger position as long as Cohn promises to stop limiting his screen time, sources tell me. A longtime lion of the GOP and close friend of Cohn’s says he would consider it.

Why it matters: Cohn, a Democrat, was one of the last moderating forces on Trump. With him now gone, the president will finally be free to stoke the nativist forces that got him elected. It’s anyone’s guess what this could mean: perhaps policies as not normal as rescinding DACA, cracking down on sanctuary cities, a Muslim ban, calling white supremacists “very fine people,” or even allowing states to impose work requirements on Medicaid. The shackles are basically gone.

  • The only adult left in the room is General John Kelly, who we can all agree is a very honorable man. But despite his good intentions, even Kelly’s influence is limited—and he’s on thin ice as well.
  • Look for Trump to start acting more—and tweeting more—like an actual child.
  • Alex Pareene emails me: “What in tarnation?”

Be smart: Reese’s Puffs? For breakfast? Yes, really.

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