The departure of Gary Cohn has left the Trump Administration with a vacancy at the head of the National Economic Council. On Wednesday, it emerged that President Donald Trump plans to pick CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow to fill the role.
Just one day earlier, Trump hinted at his pick, telling reporters: “We don’t agree on everything, but in this case, I think that’s good. I want to have a divergent opinion. We agree on most.”
Last week, Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs president, resigned from his White House position as head of the NEC, after losing the battle over Trump’s implementation of steel and aluminum tariffs.
Following the announcement of Cohn’s resignation, several names were floated for his replacement: Christopher Liddell, a former General Motors and Microsoft executive who works with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner in the White House Office of American Innovation, was mentioned. So was White House adviser Peter Navarro, who favored the tariffs but said he’s not in the running, according to Reuters. (On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board wrote a scathing op-ed on Liddell and his stance on free trade.)
Here’s what to know about Kudlow, the reported pick for the job.
Kudlow as a media personality.
Kudlow, 70, was a host on several now-off-the-air CNBC programs, including The Kudlow Report, which ended in 2014. He currently serves as a commentator for CNBC (and often appears on Squawk Box).
Prior to media he worked on Wall Street as an economist at the now-defunct Bear Stearns. He left in 1995 due to alcohol and cocaine abuse, for which he went to rehab.
Kudlow was initially a Democrat and supported Daniel Patrick Moynihan in a senate race in 1976. However, he served in the Reagan Administration and he is a believer in supply-side economics and deregulation.
In 2016, Kudlow contemplated running as s Republican against Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut, but ultimately declined to run.
During the 2016 election, he served as an informal advisor to Trump’s campaign, and recently he said on CNBC that Trump was “so good on taxes, he’s so good on tax cuts, he’s so good on deregulation, infrastructure — I even like him on immigration.”
Where Kudlow overlaps with Trump’s economic policy.
Kudlow has praised the president’s tax cuts, which were signed into law in December of 2017.
“Trump and the GOP are on the side of the growth angels with the passage of powerful tax-cut legislation to boost business investment, wages, and take-home family pay,” Kudlow wrote in a CNBC op-ed. “The Democrats, meanwhile, are left with stale class-warfare slogans about tax cuts for the rich.”
Where Kudlow and Trump’s economic ideas diverge.
Trade: After Trump announced 25% tariffs on steel and 10% tariffs on aluminum, Kudlow, along with economist Arthur B. Laffer, and economic analyst Stephen Moore wrote an op-ed criticizing the president’s position, saying “tariff hikes are really tax hikes.”
“Even if tariffs save every one of the 140,000 or so steel jobs in America, it puts at risk 5 million manufacturing and related jobs in industries that use steel,” the three wrote.
But, according to the New York Times, who spoke with Moore, Trump’s exemptions to Mexico and Canada made the tariff plan slightly more acceptable.
“It’s a Trumpian way of negotiating,” Kudlow said of the tariff plan, in a radio interview on Sunday. “You knock them in the teeth and get their attenjtion. And then you kind of work out a deal and I think that’s what he’s done. My hat’s off to him. He had me really worried. Now I’m not.”
Kudlow, according to CNN Money, also believes that the president focuses too much on the stock market, and should pay more attention to the broader economy.