The Senate’s No. 2 Republican is expressing concern about the direction of President Trump ’s policies after Gary Cohn announced the day before he’s stepping down as director of the White House’s National Economic Council.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (Texas) told reporters on Wednesday that the departure of Cohn leaves a major gap in the White House’s policymaking process.
“I don’t think it’s good news,” Cornyn told reporters.
“I’m concerned who the president will turn to for advice,” he added.
“I think Mr. Cohn was an outstanding public servant and somebody who had the credentials and experience to help the president decide what the policies of the government should be.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that Cornyn shouldn’t be concerned about Cohn’s departure.
“The president’s got a number of very accomplished, smart, capable people around him and he is going to continue to lean on a lot of those people,” she said during Wednesday’s press briefing.
Cohn, a Goldman Sachs alum who reportedly had considered leaving his post after several public rifts with Trump, announced on Tuesday that he will depart the White House after than a year.
He and Trump have been sparring over the president’s plan to impose sweeping tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.
Trump is reportedly expected to provide details of the tariff plan on Thursday at the White House.
Cornyn, whose home state relies heavily on trade, said he also remains concerned about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which is still up in the air after seven rounds of talks.
He has urged the president, who had repeatedly threatened to leave NAFTA, to remain in the deal with Mexico and Canada.
After a meeting at the White House last month with Trump, Cornyn said he was “optimistic” that Trump would complete an update of the 24-year-old pact.
“We just encouraged him to continue to modernize NAFTA,” Cornyn said.
This post was updated at 3:30 p.m.