Gary Cohn WHPB 09282017
CNN
Gary Cohn WHPB 09282017

Story highlights

Cohn was rumored to be leaving earlier this year

Was once a frontrunner for the Federal Reserve chairman

(CNN) —  

President Donald Trump’s chief economist Gary Cohn said on Wednesday he’s staying on in the administration after successfully shepherding a tax reform package through Congress.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Cohn said during an Axios event in Washington. He cited upcoming efforts to reform the welfare system and pass an infrastructure bill as fights he’s sticking around for.

Cohn’s comments come after speculation he would soon depart the White House to return to the private sector after a tumultuous year in office.

He and the President worked closely on economic matters, but their relationship suffered after Trump’s equivocal comments about racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the summer.

Once considered a frontrunner to become the Federal Reserve chairman, Cohn’s name was dropped from the short list after his and Trump’s disagreement. The dispute ultimately did not last, however, and he returned to Trump’s good graces by autumn.

Tax reform was viewed as his main portfolio over the past several months, and it remained an open question whether he would depart once the package passed.

A number of Trump’s senior advisers are expected to leave at the one-year mark of his first term. Dina Powell, a deputy national security adviser who worked with Cohn at Goldman Sachs, has announced she would depart the administration January.

But on Wednesday he put those questions to rest, at least for now.

“I’m staying,” he said.