Bob Woodward book: Trump told Gary Cohn he 'hired the wrong guy for Treasury secretary' right in front of Steven Mnuchin

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  • As president-elect, Donald Trump offered the job of Treasury secretary to Gary Cohn during a transition-period meeting at Trump Tower, according to the veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House.”
  • “I hired the wrong guy for Treasury secretary,” Trump reportedly said.
  • Steven Mnuchin, whom Trump had already privately tapped to be Treasury secretary, was in the meeting.
  • The news of Mnuchin’s selection leaked while Cohn was still in Trump Tower.

According to the veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s explosive new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” Gary Cohn rejected job offers for both energy secretary and director of the Office of Management and Budget during a transition meeting at Trump Tower.

So Donald Trump, then the president-elect, suggested another job.

“You know what?” Trump reportedly said. “I hired the wrong guy for Treasury secretary. You should be Treasury secretary. You would be the best Treasury secretary.”

There were a couple of problems with that suggestion: Trump had already tapped Steven Mnuchin to be Treasury secretary.

Also, Mnuchin was in the room.

Business Insider obtained a copy of the book, which is being published by Simon & Schuster and is set for release on Tuesday. Woodward wrote that Mnuchin did not react to Trump’s suggestion. But a few minutes after the meeting, news of Mnuchin’s selection leaked to the media.

Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was still with Cohn in Trump Tower, suggested Mnuchin leaked the news to head off any switch by Trump.

“That’s crazy,” Kushner said, according to Woodward. “Mnuchin just put that out. You freaked him out so badly in the meeting.”

Trump met with Cohn at Trump Tower on November 29, 2016, the same day The New York Times reported Mnuchin would be tapped as Treasury secretary.

Cohn eventually became the director of the National Economic Council, a top economic adviser to the president. Mnuchin is still serving as Treasury secretary, and he has emerged as a key ally in Trump’s Cabinet. Cohn departed the White House in March amid disagreements with Trump on trade policy.

Woodward’s book details a White House plagued by chaos and dysfunction, much of which he portrays as being caused by Trump. Another story about Cohn details his stealing documents off the president’s desk to prevent Trump from pulling the US out of major trade deals.

The White House has attacked the contents of “Fear,” calling Woodward’s book “nothing more than fabricated stories.”

The Treasury Department referred requests for comment to the White House. A representative for the White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Here are more revelations from the book so far:

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