Trump picks TV commentator Larry Kudlow to succeed Gary Cohn as economic adviser

VIDEO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US television commentator and conservative economic analyst Larry Kudlow will replace Gary Cohn as President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, the White House and Kudlow said on Wednesday (March 14), adding another loyalist to Trump’s inner circle.

Kudlow, a Republican who served as an economic adviser to former President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and also worked on Wall Street, is an ardent advocate of “supply side” economic policies that focus on cutting taxes and reducing regulations.  

Kudlow, 70, told Reuters that Trump offered him the job on Tuesday evening and he accepted. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders confirmed that Trump had offered him the position. A formal announcement could come as early as Thursday.  

Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance, said investors on Wall Street generally viewed the pick positively because of Kudlow’s Washington experience and his policy views.  

“He’s generally regarded to be more of a free trade advocate than (White House adviser Peter) Navarro or the others,”Zaccarelli said.  

“Larry Kudlow is very much a free trader,” said Stephen Massocca, senior vice president at Wedbush Securities in San Francisco.

“This shows that (Trump) wants to hear the other side of the argument as well.”

Kudlow, a CNBC contributor, has acknowledged ups and downs in his life, having been addicted to drugs and alcohol before getting sober more than 20 years ago.  

The NEC director can have wide influence over the president on a variety of issues from steering economic policy to offering guidance on whom to choose for open positions at the US Federal Reserve. 

 

Cohn, a Democrat and “globalist” who was seen as a moderating influence on the president’s economic policies, resigned after a disagreement with Trump’s decision to impose steep tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium.

Kudlow, an informal advisor to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, had also criticised the president’s decision, saying tariffs would harm steel-consuming producers.

But Trump said on Wednesday that Kudlow had “come around” to view tariffs as a useful tool for renegotiating trade deals.

Kudlow has championed what he describes as “pro-growth” economic policies that include cutting taxes and regulation and boosting free trade.

The White House economic adviser can have wide influence over the president on a wide variety of issues from steering economic policy to offering guidance on whom to choose for open positions at the US Federal Reserve.

Cohn helped lead Trump’s overhaul of the tax code last year and was slated to spearhead efforts to pass an infrastructure spending bill this year