Trump Expected to Name Larry Kudlow as Top Economic Adviser



Larry Kudlow is a CNBC television commentator and has served as an informal adviser to President Trump.

Seth Wenig/Associated Press

President Trump is expected to name Larry Kudlow, a CNBC television commentator who has served as an informal adviser to him, as director of the National Economic Council, according to three people familiar with the decision.

Mr. Kudlow would become Mr. Trump’s top economic adviser, replacing Gary D. Cohn, who said he would resign after losing a battle over the president’s longstanding desire to impose large tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Mr. Kudlow, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, said that Mr. Trump offered him the job and that he immediately accepted. Mr. Kudlow told The Journal that an announcement could come as early as Thursday.

Like Mr. Cohn, Mr. Kudlow had been publicly critical of Mr. Trump’s push for stiff and sweeping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. He jointly wrote a critical column urging the president to reconsider his plan to impose tariffs.

“Trump should also examine the historical record on tariffs,” he and his co-authors wrote, “because they have almost never worked as intended and almost always deliver an unhappy ending.”

But Stephen Moore, a friend of Mr. Kudlow’s who was one of the authors of the critical column, said earlier this week that the administration’s tweaks to its tariff plan, such as providing country exclusions, had made it significantly more palatable to Mr. Kudlow.

Mr. Kudlow would represent the rare revival in Mr. Trump’s circle — he criticized the president after the emergence of the “Access Hollywood” tape in October 2016. He later re-endorsed him, but Mr. Trump, who nurses grudges, was angry for some time, according to people close to him.

Mr. Kudlow is also a radio host and a former Wall Street economist. He is a disciple of Arthur Laffer, the godfather of supply-side tax cuts, whom Mr. Kudlow credits for helping him overcome an alcohol- and substance-abuse problem about 25 years ago.

During the campaign and throughout Mr. Trump’s first year in the White House, Mr. Kudlow urged the president to go big with his tax-cut plan.

After Republicans pushed a $1.5 trillion cut through Congress late last year, Mr. Kudlow praised it effusively, predicting it would usher in long-term annual growth of 3 to 4 percent — a more optimistic assessment than most independent economists have offered — and would help Republicans in this year’s midterm elections.

“Trump and the G.O.P. 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,” Mr. Kudlow wrote in December. “The Democrats, meanwhile, are left with stale class-warfare slogans about tax cuts for the rich.”