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'I'm here today, and I'm here next week': Gary Cohn responds to speculation about White House exit

  • Gary Cohn says he has no plans to leave his White House job soon.
  • Speculation has swirled about whether Cohn would leave his post after the passage of a massive tax overhaul.
  • The White House will decide this weekend whether to move on to infrastructure or welfare reform next, Cohn says.

Gary Cohn has no plans to leave the White House, at least in the next seven days.

"I'm here today, and I'm here next week," the White House chief economic advisor told CNBC on Friday, without giving assurances beyond that time frame.

Speculation has swirled about whether Cohn, the former No. 2 executive at Goldman Sachs, will stay in his White House post following the passage of a massive tax overhaul. Cohn was one of two Trump administration officials leading negotiations with congressional leaders on the Republican plan that went into law at the beginning of the year.

In late December, Cohn told Axios that he would still be working in the Trump administration three months from that time.

Tax reform was seen as a signature issue for Cohn, who reportedly drafted a resignation letter following the president's divisive response to violence at a white nationalist rally in Virginia last year.

"Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," an explosive book released Friday, also claims that Cohn has called Trump "dumb as s--t." A White House official told CNBC that "Cohn denies that ridiculous quote."

In coming weeks, the White House plans to turn its focus to new policy pushes. Trump administration officials will meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, among others, at the Camp David retreat in Maryland this weekend to discuss their legislative agenda.

The White House will decide whether a massive infrastructure package or welfare reform will come next, Cohn said Friday. Both could happen simultaneously, he added.

Senate Republicans would need to use the special budget reconciliation process, which requires only a simple majority vote, to pass welfare reform. Republicans hold a 51-seat majority and likely would not be able to overcome a Democratic filibuster to make possible changes to social safety net programs.

On Friday, Cohn told Fox Business that he would "continue to push President Trump's economic agenda" from here. He cited regulatory changes and the infrastructure plan as work the Trump administration still wants to accomplish.

— Correction: The white nationalist rally in Virginia took place last year.