In a White House marked by infighting, top economic aide Gary Cohn, a Democrat and former Goldman Sachs banker, is muscling aside some of President Donald Trump's hard-right advisers to push more moderate, business-friendly economic policies.
Cohn, 56, did not work on Republican Trump's campaign and only got to know him after the November election, but he has emerged as one of the administration's most powerful players in an ascent that rankles conservatives.
Trump refers to his director of the National Economic Council (NEC), as "one of my geniuses," according to one source close to Cohn.
More than half a dozen sources on Wall Street and in the White House said Cohn has gained the upper hand over Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, the former head of the right-wing website Breitbart News and a champion of protectionist trade opposed by moderate Republicans and many big companies.
Cohn is a key administration link to business executives and White House sources say he will lead the charge for Trump on top domestic priorities such as tax reform, infrastructure and deregulation.
"Gary's singular focus is tax reform and he's working to try and get that done in 2017," said Orin Snyder, a partner at law firm Gibson Dunn and a long-time friend of Cohn. "He is working to implement the president's twin goals of economic growth and job creation. The tax plan will also include a reduction in the corporate rate, but also tax relief for middle- and low-income Americans."
Some conservatives fear Cohn may push through a tax plan that is unnecessarily complicated and argue that including tax relief for middle- and low-income Americans would not spur economic growth as much as cuts focused entirely or mostly on businesses and entrepreneurs.
Adam Brandon, president of the conservative group FreedomWorks, is disappointed Trump is not charging ahead with a plan unveiled last year during his campaign that would slash taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals.
That plan was shaped heavily by Stephen Moore, an economic policy expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, who advised Trump's campaign. But it has since been shelved.
"I don't like the idea of scrapping it and starting over again," Brandon said.
A senior administration official said the White House has started from scratch on the tax plan and, while setting business tax cuts as the highest priority, is consulting with lawmakers, economists and business leaders before taking it to the Republican-led Congress.
Two administration officials said reports that the White House was considering a carbon tax and a value-added tax were incorrect, but that other ideas were on the table. "We are considering a multitude of options for tax reform," a White House official said on Sunday.