Trump touts TV’s Kud­low for post

CNBC con­trib­u­tor among op­tions to re­place Na­tional Eco­nomic Coun­cil chief

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL - COM­PILED BY DEMO­CRAT-GAZETTE STAFF FROM WIRE RE­PORTS In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Jen­nifer Ja­cobs and Toluse Olorunnipa of Bloomberg News; and by Cather­ine Lucey of The As­so­ci­ated Press.

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said Tues­day that econ­o­mist and CNBC con­trib­u­tor Larry Kud­low has “a very good chance” at re­plac­ing Gary Cohn, the out­go­ing di­rec­tor of the White House Na­tional Eco­nomic Coun­cil.

“I’m look­ing at Larry Kud­low very strongly,” Trump told re­porters as he left the White House for a trip to Cal­i­for­nia. “He now has come around to be­liev­ing in tar­iffs.”

The pres­i­dent may name the 70-year-old Kud­low as his top eco­nomic ad­viser within a day or so, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said Mon­day. Trump has spo­ken by phone with Kud­low about the eco­nomic ad­viser role a cou­ple of times in re­cent days, in­clud­ing once over the week­end, ac­cord­ing to two peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion.

The peo­ple fa­mil­iar with Trump’s de­lib­er­a­tions cau­tioned that he hasn’t made a fi­nal de­ci­sion and could change his mind. Two other peo­ple de­scribed Kud­low as be­ing among those be­ing con­sid­ered as re­place­ments for Cohn. All of the peo­ple asked not to be iden­ti­fied dis­cussing the mat­ter.

Kud­low is al­ready an in­for­mal ad­viser who oc­ca­sion­ally speaks to the pres­i­dent, one of the peo­ple said. In ad­di­tion to his du­ties at CNBC, where he is a se­nior con­trib­u­tor, Kud­low is a ra­dio host, syn­di­cated colum­nist and en­tre­pre­neur. He was an econ­o­mist for Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. and served in Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Cohn an­nounced his de­par­ture last week af­ter Trump moved for­ward with tar­iffs on steel and alu­minum im­ports — a plan Cohn had vo­cif­er­ously op­posed.

Kud­low has clashed with Trump in the past.

Ear­lier this month, he wrote a col­umn for CNBC de­scrib­ing the pres­i­dent’s tar­iffs as “a re­gres­sive tax on low-in­come fam­i­lies.”

“Trump should also ex­am­ine the his­tor­i­cal record on tar­iffs, be­cause they have al­most never worked as in­tended and al­most al­ways de­liver an un­happy end­ing,” Kud­low wrote in the March 3 col­umn, which also in­cluded praise for other parts of the pres­i­dent’s eco­nomic agenda. Kud­low has strongly backed the tax over­haul that Trump signed at the end of last year.

In 2016, when a tape sur­faced be­fore the elec­tion fea­tur­ing Trump boast­ing about grab­bing women’s gen­i­tals, Kud­low said he was “fu­ri­ous” and threat­ened to vote for Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence as a write-in can­di­date.

In an­other de­vel­op­ment, two peo­ple close to the White House said Trump’s per­sonal as­sis­tant, John McEn­tee, was re­moved from his job Mon­day.

McEn­tee was es­corted out Mon­day, said the peo­ple, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions.

One of a shrink­ing group of for­mer cam­paign aides still work­ing in the West Wing, the 27-year-old McEn­tee quickly re­joined the pres­i­dent’s cam­paign. Trump’s 2020 Repub­li­can cam­paign an­nounced Tues­day that he will serve as a se­nior ad­viser for cam­paign oper­a­tions.

White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders de­clined to com­ment on the rea­sons for his de­par­ture, say­ing only that McEn­tee was go­ing to the cam­paign.

In re­sponse to news re­ports about McEn­tee’s exit, Rep. Eli­jah Cum­mings, the rank­ing Demo­crat on the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee, sent a let­ter to Chief of Staff John Kelly re­quest­ing all doc­u­ments re­lated to McEn­tee’s em­ploy­ment and de­par­ture.

“I have been warn­ing for more than a year about the White House’s de­fi­cient back­ground check process — as well as spe­cific of­fi­cials who have been granted ac­cess to our na­tion’s most closely guarded se­crets de­spite deroga­tory in­for­ma­tion known to White House of­fi­cials,” Cum­mings wrote.

Trump an­nounced Tues­day that he had ousted Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son. Trump’s top eco­nomic ad­viser, Cohn, left re­cently amid in­ter­nal de­bate over Trump’s plans for tar­iffs. Com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Hope Hicks also re­cently an­nounced her de­par­ture.

Hicks, like McEn­tee, was part of a small group of aides who had been with Trump since his cam­paign.

The New York Times/AL DRAGO

John McEn­tee, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s per­sonal as­sis­tant, steps off Air Force One at Joint Base An­drews, Md., on March 3. McEn­tee re­port­edly was es­corted out of the White House on Mon­day. On Tues­day, he joined Trump’s 2020 re-elec­tion cam­paign.


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