Peter Navarro at the 'Death By China' in 2012. Photo: Andy Kropa/Getty Images

President Trump's spirit animal Peter Navarro is telling associates he wants Gary Cohn's job as the president's chief economic adviser.

What we're hearing: Publicly, Navarro has been coy, telling Bloomberg TV he's not in the running for the job. But privately, the hardcore nationalist trade adviser is all in for the job. 

Sources familiar with Navarro's thinking tell me he believes there are too many people inside the White House perimeter who oppose the president's agenda. Cohn, in particular, obstructed Navarro, telling colleagues that the nationalist trade adviser had no idea what he was doing, had no grasp of economics, and constantly "lied" to the president. 

Why this matters: Choosing Navarro would be the path of least resistance for Trump's trade agenda, but it would cause something approaching a riot on Capitol Hill and within the White House. Senior officials tell me they expect the entire National Economic Council staff would quit their posts immediately if Trump appoints Navarro; and Republicans on the Hill would go crazy. Republican leaders view Navarro as a menace and a danger to both the U.S. and world economies.

  • The problem for them: Trump loves Navarro, and Navarro reflects the president's hardwired beliefs on trade far more closely than Cohn ever did, or did any of the other top officials involved in the trade debate besides Wilbur Ross. "Where's Peter?" Trump would sometimes say, when senior staff had "forgotten" to include Navarro in a meeting. 

Bottom line: Trump is spitballing up to a dozen names for Cohn's replacement. Cohn has been advocating for Shahira Knight — a senior figure on the NEC who is well-regarded on the Hill and played a crucial role in passing tax reform. The chances that Trump will appoint Navarro currently seem low, but you'd be a fool to totally count him out. 

Go deeper

Updated 54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans condemn Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

A number of prominent Republican lawmakers addressed President Trump's refusal on Wednesday to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses November's presidential election.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted, "The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792."

1 hour ago - Technology

Pandemic spurs journalists to go it alone via email

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A slew of high-profile journalists have recently announced they are leaving newsrooms to launch their own, independent brands, mostly via email newsletters.

Context: Many of those writers, working with new technology companies like Substack, TinyLetter, Lede, or Ghost, have made the transition amid the pandemic.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 31,926,175 — Total deaths: 977,357 — Total recoveries: 22,004,598Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m ET: 6,935,556 — Total deaths: 201,920 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: The coronavirus is surging again — Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  4. Politics: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tests positive for coronavirus — Poll says 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
  5. Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
  6. Sports: Here's what college basketball will look like this season.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!