Ex-Trump Advisor Gary Cohn Says J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon Would Actually Make a ‘Phenomenal’ President

September 18, 2018, 10:12 AM UTC

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, who last week mocked Donald Trump before expressing regret, would make a “phenomenal” president, former White House adviser Gary Cohn said.

“I think Jamie would make a phenomenal president, I think Jamie would be a spectacular president,” Cohn, who stepped down as Trump’s top economic adviser earlier this year, said Monday at an event hosted by Reuters in New York. It’s “very similar to running a complex, multinational, global firm.”

Still, Cohn didn’t say whether he thought Dimon could defeat Trump in an election — the question that set off a public fracas between the head of the nation’s largest bank and the U.S. president last week. Dimon picked the fight at a bank event Sept. 12, boasting off-the-cuff that he could beat Trump to become president himself.

“I’m as tough as he is, I’m smarter than he is,” said Dimon, who then got personal: “This wealthy New Yorker actually earned his money. It wasn’t a gift from daddy.”

In a statement soon after, Dimon backtracked, saying he shouldn’t have said it. “I’m not running for president,” he said. “Proves I wouldn’t make a good politician.”

Trump fired back on Twitter the next morning: “The problem with banker Jamie Dimon running for President is that he doesn’t have the aptitude or ‘smarts’ & is a poor public speaker & nervous mess – otherwise he is wonderful.”

Cohn declined to answer a question Monday about his portrayal in journalist Bob Woodward’s book on the Trump administration, Fear. Woodward wrote that Cohn was among a group of top Trump aides who sought to prevent the president from taking actions they regarded as potentially harmful to the U.S. and that Cohn removed paperwork from Trump’s desk that would have withdrawn the country from a trade deal with South Korea had it been signed.

“I’ve said what I’m going to say on the Woodward book,” Cohn said.

In an statement to Axios, Cohn had said the book “does not accurately portray my experience at the White House.” But he didn’t specify any errors and has declined to answer further questions about Woodward’s account.

Cohn served as president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs Group (GS) before agreeing in late 2016 to join the Trump administration. During Monday’s forum, the former commodities trader was asked which boss was better — Trump or Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. “No comment,” Cohn said, prompting the crowd to erupt in laughter.

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