Trump Meets With Goldman’s Cohn as Dinner Set With Romneyby and
Aides said to weigh possible Cohn role in administration
Romney a contender for secretary of state has second meeting
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. President Gary Cohn and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney were meeting Tuesday with Donald Trump as the president-elect and his team consider candidates to fill out key roles in the administration.
Cohn arrived at Trump Tower in Manhattan Tuesday afternoon for a meeting with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Trump was then scheduled to go to dinner with Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee who’s a contender for secretary of state. Another potential choice for the nation’s top diplomat, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, met with Trump earlier in the day.
As he moves through the list of high-level administration jobs he has to fill, Trump on Tuesday announced he’ll nominate Georgia Representative Tom Price, a leading critic of Obamacare, to head the Department of Health and Human Services. A person familiar with the transition said he’s poised to pick former U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, to be transportation secretary.
Transition spokesman Sean Spicer didn’t give any hint of the agenda for Trump’s meeting with Cohn or whether he’s in line for an administration job. But a person familiar with transition planning said Trump and his aides are still discussing what role he might play, with potential jobs including posts at the Treasury Department or Office of Management and Budget. Cohn also may be considered for the Federal Reserve, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
A representative from Trump’s team called Cohn to come in for a meeting and the Goldman Sachs banker agreed to sit down with the president-elect, according to another person who had knowledge of the invitation. Cohn has known Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, for a while and the two men speak from time to time, the person said, asking for anonymity to discuss private talks.
Trump also met Tuesday with Rolls Royce North America Chief Executive Officer Marion Blakey, as well as Representatives Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Michael McCaul of Texas, a contender for homeland security secretary, and Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania.
“We talked about secretary of labor and it’s something I’m considering,” Barletta told reporters as he left his meeting with Trump.
McCaul said he and Trump had “a very substantive and productive conversation” about national security issues.
Cohn headed to his meeting with Trump shortly before 4 p.m. New York time. Cohn joined Goldman Sachs more than 25 years ago and rose through the ranks of the powerful fixed income, currency and commodities unit alongside Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein. He was named co-president and co-chief operating officer in 2006, taking over sole responsibility when Jon Winkelried left in 2009.
As president and COO, Cohn is a frequent guest at conferences and on television, commenting on the global economy, financial markets and the state of Wall Street. Goldman Sachs has come under repeated attack during the U.S. presidential campaign, and Trump aired an ad at the end of his run that showed Blankfein’s face as the candidate said that a corrupt global power machine was robbing the U.S.
Cohn, a registered Democrat, has been a prolific political donor. He contributed more than $275,000 to Democrats, including donations to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in their race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, according to Federal Election Commission records.
But he’s also donated more than $225,000 to Republicans, with most of the money coming in recent years. In 2015 he sent cash to Kelly Ayotte’s Senate campaign in New Hampshire and Tom Cotton’s in Arkansas. He donated to Marco Rubio’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination but not Trump’s, records show.
After a campaign in which he decried the influence of big banks and international financial institutions, Trump has leaned heavily on Wall Street executives as he prepares to take office. Chief strategist Stephen Bannon, campaign finance chairman Steven Mnuchin, who is said to be a contender for Treasury secretary, and transition-team member Anthony Scaramucci are all Goldman Sachs alumni.
Trump’s dinner with Romney will be his second meeting with the former Massachusetts governor, who was harshly critical of Trump throughout the campaign. Along with Corker, Trump is said to be considering retired General and former CIA Director David Petraeus for the secretary of state job.