President Donald Trump and Gary CohnMichael Sohn/AP Images

  • Gary Cohn and other White House officials are trying to convince President Donald Trump to soften his new tariffs.
  • Cohn helped schedule a meeting between Trump and business executives whose companies will be hurt by the new tax on steel and aluminum imports.

A group of White House advisers is making a list-ditch effort to blunt the impact of President Donald Trump’s newly announced steel and aluminum tariffs.

Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council and former Goldman Sachs executive, along with a group of officials in the White House and Treasury Department are attempting to convince Trump to reconsider the tariffs according to a new report from Politico’s Ben White, Andrew Restuccia, and Nancy Cook.

According to the report, Cohn organized a White House meeting with Trump and executives from industries that could be hurt by the tariff, which is essentially a tax on imports. These executives would be from businesses that use steel and aluminum that could see costs rise as a result of the trade restriction.

Industries from canned food manufacturers to car companies have warned that the increased cost of metals could hurt their businesse and in the worst case lead to layoffs.

Many economists have warned that the new tariffs could end up being detrimental to the US economy. A new study from The Trade Partnership, a consulting firm, estimated that the tariffs could cost the US economy 146,000 on net.

Going beyond steel and aluminum, there is also growing worry that retaliation from other countries — including US allies like Canada and the European Union — could trigger a trade war.

According to the report, Cohn and the other advisers are not relying on economic data to win over Trump since he is skeptical of economists in general. Instead, they are pointing to the stock market swoon following the tariff’s announcement and backlash from GOP lawmakers to argue that Trump should soften the policy.

The group also does not expect to totally win Trump over, but instead to craft a softer final policy.

Cohn and company’s attempts at softening the blow from the tariffs also continues a long-standing feud between the more free trade-focused advisers and officials like Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro who want increased barriers to trade.

Additionally, the move comes after reports that Cohn was considering leaving the White House after failing to block Trump from imposing the tariffs in the first place.

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