President Donald Trump has chosen former Reagan economist Larry Kudlow to replace Gary Cohn as head of the National Economic Council.
Trump had favorable things to say about the CNBC personality before departing for California on Tuesday.
“I’ve known him a long time. We don’t agree on everything but in this case, I think that’s good. I want to have a divergent opinion,” the president said. “We agree on most.”
No Senate confirmation is required for the White House staff position.
Kudlow informally advised the president on the Republican tax reform bill, and he along with Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore helped draft the tax cut plan Trump released during his 2016 campaign.
“He’s a very, very talented man – a good man,” said Trump, describing him as one of his “original backers” during his presidential run.
Kudlow served Reagan’s Office of Budget and Management in the 1980s, following a stint as a economist at New York’s Federal Reserve Bank.
During Reagan’s two terms, the economy grew a third larger (that is the size of the entire economy of Germany at the time). Unemployment dropped to under 5%, as the economy created over 19 million new jobs. Meanwhile, revenues to the Treasury doubled during his two terms, due to the tremendous economic growth.
One area of disagreement Kudlow has had with Trump is tariffs. Kudlow is a strong proponent of free trade as the means to foster strong economies.
“He now has come around to believing in tariffs as also a negotiating point,” Trump said. “I now am negotiating trade deals and without tariffs, we would not do nearly as well.”
In a radio interview on New York station which aired earlier this week, Kudlow said the president will “show great flexibility” in exempting countries from tariffs.
He quickly carved out exceptions on his 25 percent steel tariffs for Canada, Mexico and Australia, and the economist believes Europe will soon follow.
When it is all over, China may be the only one with steel tariffs imposed against it, Kudlow conjectured.
“It’s a Trumpian way of negotiating,” the economist noted. “You knock them in the teeth and get their attention. And then you kind of work out a deal and I think that’s what he’s done.”
Kudlow added, “My hats off to him. He had me really worried. Now I’m not.”
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