Trump on Wednesday announced his pick of Larry Kudlow to replace outgoing National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, who quit after failing to convince Trump not to implement tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Kudlow, 70, is an economic analyst and newspaper columnist who previously hosted The Kudlow Report on CNBC. Like Trump, Kudlow was once a Democrat.
Kudlow worked as a budget aide during the Reagan Administration before working for Bear Stearns as chief economist for eight years. Kudlow worked for the Trump campaign as an informal economic adviser.
“Larry has been a friend of mine for a long time,” said Trump on Tuesday. “He backed me very early in the campaign, I think the earliest.”
Trump phoned Kudlow on Tuesday night to offer him the job.
“I am thrilled and honored to serve this president,” said Kudlow. “I’ve known him and interviewed him for over 20 years. I’m very comfortable with him and I can’t wait to start.”
Kudlow supports Trump’s push for fewer regulations, lower taxes, and a merit-based immigration system – but does not share his views on trade.
Kudlow publicly criticized the steel and aluminum tariffs before acknowledging them as a “Trumpian” negotiating tactic. “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. My hat’s off to him.”
Economist John Berlau has urged Trump and lawmakers to listen to Kudlow on trade, taxes, and regulation.
“Kudlow understands business on both Main Street and Wall Street and grasps the harsh impact of both excessive taxation and overregulation on America’s investors, consumers, and entrepreneurs,” says Berlau. “Kudlow has also been a fierce critic of protectionism and supporter of free trade, a position that contrasts with recent actions of the Trump Administration.”
Kudlow is friendly with trade adviser Peter Navarro, who fiercely supports the president’s tariffs, and Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin, who worked with him on Trump’s economic plan in 2016.
GOP lawmakers “couldn’t be more pleased” with Trump’s pick, said Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole. “He is somebody that House Republicans are extraordinarily comfortable with.”