Tags: larry kudlow | donald trump | gary cohn | steven mnuchin

Kudlow: Gary Cohn, Steven Mnuchin Are 'Twin Pillars' of US Economy

By    |   Tuesday, 06 March 2018 04:11 PM

Larry Kudlow, the Reagan administration economist who advised the Trump campaign, again said he has urged the White House’s top economic adviser not to quit over any tiff with President Donald Trump on trade policy.

Gary Cohn, the former president and COO of Goldman Sachs who has led the National Economic Council since Trump entered office last year, is urging the president to avoid a damaging trade war by slapping steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Trump is said to believe Cohn will leave his job if Trump moves ahead with the levies, Bloomberg News reported.

"Personally, I have urged Gary Cohn to stay. I spoke to him this week and I said, 'please stay,'" Kudlow said on cable channel CNBC, where he is a senior contributor. “[Cohn] and Mnuchin are the twin pillars of economic growth in this administration," he added, referring to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Reports and rumors that Cohn was considering leaving the White House have led to brief sell-offs in the stock market on several occasions, including a false tweet in August that gained quick credibility after prior reports that Cohn was  "upset" and "disgusted" with Trump's statements following a deadly clash between white supremacists and protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Cohn this week summoned executives from U.S. companies that depend on aluminum and steel to meet with the president in a last-ditch effort to halt the tariffs. Cohn was said to be setting up a Thursday gathering with representatives of breweries, beverage-can manufacturers, automakers and the oil industry — but it remains to be seen whether Trump will actually attend.

Kudlow said his sources told him that the meeting wasn't on the president's official calendar as of Tuesday.

Populist Groundswell

Cohn is said to be one of the more influential advisers to the president, who ran on a pro-business platform of cutting taxes and regulation, boosting jobs growth and spending $1 trillion on infrastructure like roads and bridges.

But Trump also was highly effective at tapping into populist discontent with his pledge to do something about the massive trade deficit that he blamed for sending American jobs and wealth overseas. While factory automation has contributed to job cuts, Trump's message was especially popular among blue-collar workers who never recovered from the 2008 financial crisis. In other words, Trump blamed Wall Street-to-Washington elites, some of whom joined his administration, for the plight of the U.S. worker.

One of Trump’s first actions as president was to withdraw the United States from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership that was backed by the Obama administration. While campaigning, Trump described the trade agreement as "a rape of our country" by wealthy interests that didn’t care about America’s dying middle class. He also said Japan, China and Mexico had lured businesses from the U.S. in interviews and campaign speeches.

This year, Trump said he would re-consider the TPP if the U.S. got a “substantially better deal.” The agreement was intended to show Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and other Pacific countries that the U.S. would strengthen ties with a region strained by China’s growing economic and military assertiveness.

Kudlow last week warned that tariffs are a "blunt instrument" that could have adverse effects on U.S. consumers and companies. As a proponent of free trade, Kudlow said he has disagreed with Trump's arguments for tariffs.

"Across-the-board tariffs like this damage the users of the commodity," Kudlow said on CNBC. "What are you going to do about cars? All manner of transportation, buses, trucks, SUVs? The energy business. Airplanes, they all use steel."

Kudlow is author of "JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity," written with Brian Domitrovic and published by Portfolio.

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Larry Kudlow, the Reagan administration economist who advised the Trump campaign, again said he has urged the White House's top economic adviser not to quit over any tiff with President Donald Trump on trade policy.
larry kudlow, donald trump, gary cohn, steven mnuchin
Tuesday, 06 March 2018 04:11 PM
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