President Donald Trump, commenting on the departure of a White House economic adviser, described him in terms more likely to be read or heard on far-right wing opinion and conspiracy websites.
Gary Cohn announced he was leaving the administration on Tuesday, reportedly following the president’s recent comments on the need for aluminum and steel tariffs.
“I am grateful to the President for giving me this opportunity and wish him and the Administration great success in the future,” he said earlier this week.
On Thursday, however, Trump suggested that Cohn was a “globalist,” a term that carries xenophobic sentiments and has been used by other members of his administration in more derogatory ways.
“He is seriously a globalist, there’s no question,” Trump said of his adviser. “But you know what, in his own way, he’s a nationalist because he loves our country.”
It’s unclear whether Trump is aware of what either term (globalist or nationalist) means.
Many have used the term “globalist” to describe someone who is open to free trade agreements around the world. But the term has been co-opted by the so-called alt-right, who have used it to promulgate conspiracy theories regarding a belief that Jewish people around the world are attempting to undermine white, Western culture.
Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist who departed in the fall of 2017, has also used the term, reportedly calling Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner a globalist last spring.
Both Kushner and Cohn are Jewish.
The president is either ignorant or xenophobic in using the term the way he did on Thursday. Either option is bad, however, and neither desirable for those concerned with this administration's blatant displays of hatred.
If simply unaware of the connotation of the word, it exposes the president’s failure to educate himself on terms that permeate throughout his White House. Yet, if he does understand the underlying meaning of the term, it’s further demonstrative of his already well-documented bigotry.