Playing off a comment made by OMB Director and former House Freedom Caucus leader Mick Mulvaney earlier this week, President Trump joked at a mid-day cabinet meeting that he still likes former economic advisor Gary Cohn - even though he's a "globalist."
Trump seized the opportunity to give Cohn a light-hearted public ribbing after announcing to the room that this would be his last cabinet meeting - for now, at least.
"This is Gary Cohn’s last cabinet meeting. He's been terrific - he may be a globalist, but I still like him. He's seriously a globalist there's no doubt about that but in other ways he's a nationalist because he loves our country. He's going to go out and make another couple of hundred million dollars and...I have a feeling you'll be back."
Trump's declaration that Cohn "loves our country" was met with a round of applause. Cohn announced his resignation as director of the National Economic Council on Tuesday after failing to persuade President Trump to drop his promise to impose stiff tariffs on aluminum and steel imports.
Trump says goodbye to Gary Cohn— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) March 8, 2018
"He may be a globalist, but I still like him. He is seriously a globalist, there's no question." pic.twitter.com/Xs1lrmWb72
Mulvaney last week issued a confusing statement that appeared to both praise and criticize Cohn:
"As a right-wing conservative and founding member of the Freedom Caucus, I never expected that the coworker I would work closes, and best, with at the White House would be a 'globalist....
He continued, saying Cohn "is one of the smartest people I've ever worked with. Having the chance to collaborate with him will remain one of the highlights of my career in public service."
Of course, as Business Insider explains, "globalist" is typically used in a derogatory way to to describe supporters of free-trade and other internationally-focused economic policies.
Cohn was asked during a CNBC interview shortly after announcing his resignation if the president had ever called him a "globalist." Cohn only responded that the two had a "good relationship."
Trump also said during the cabinet meeting that he would be sticking with the original 25% and 10% tariffs on steel and aluminum, and that they'd apply to all countries - except those that receive "carve outs." He later suggested that Australia could be exempt.
Trump is set to provide an update about his plans for imposing tariffs at 3:30 pm ET - though it's possible he could also officially unveil the tariffs at the meeting.