Cohn says he tried to sell Trump on solar jobs over coal

Source: By Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg • Posted: Monday, March 18, 2019

Gary Cohn, the former head of President Trump’s National Economic Council who left after losing a battle over steel tariffs, said he tried to sell Trump on solar jobs — and seemingly failed as the administration eventually imposed tariffs on the industry.

Cohn said in an interview with the Freakonomics podcast that he “vividly” remembers having a conversation with the president comparing the less than 50,000 coal-mining jobs with more than 350,000 solar panel installers, according to a transcript released late Wednesday.

“And by the way, 10 years ago, we had no solar panels installers,” Cohn said on the podcast. “It’s an industry that’s going to continue to grow. And we have to recognize where this country is going, not where this country has been.”

Trump ended up slapping tariffs on solar equipment imported into the U.S. The president understood, Cohn said, that “in West Virginia, and southern Ohio and Pennsylvania, you better go talk about coal.”