Trump looks 'very strongly' at Larry Kudlow for chief economic adviser

White House director of strategic initiatives eyed to replace Cohn report

White House director of strategic initiatives eyed to replace Cohn report

President Trump on Tuesday endorsed using tariffs as leverage in trade negotiations, saying "we wouldn't do almost as well" without them - a belief he said was shared by Larry Kudlow, a top candidate to replace Gary Cohn as the director of the National Economic Council.

"Chris has a strong interest in foreign affairs, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, which is now focusing on the president's decisions on tariffs and industry protection", Hope said, questioning whether he might be able to "moderate the President's position on trade". Cohn strongly opposed the president's plan to slap tariffs on the steel and aluminum imports and worked to provide exemptions to USA allies such as Canada and Mexico. "I'm renegotiating trade deals and without tariffs we wouldn't do almost as well", Trump said. Trump did note Kudlow supported his approach to using trade tariffs in economic negotiations.

In his comments Tuesday, Trump said that Kudlow's free-trade stance is not necessarily a barrier to him getting the job. "We agree on most", Trump said.

Stephen Moore, a Heritage Foundation economist who worked with Kudlow on Trump's campaign tax plan, told The Hill that Kudlow is "definitely one of the top three" candidates to become the next director of the National Economic Council, but Trump has yet to make a decision.

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While Kudlow has been publicly critical of the tariffs, Trump said that the longtime CNBC senior contributor has "come around" on the issue. But I think Larry has a very good chance. Cohn was seen as a free-trade advocate who pushed back on Trump's desires for large tariffs and trade restrictions.

The president said last week that Cohn, the former top Goldman Sachs executive, was likely to return to his administration in the future.

In a recent CNBC interview, Kudlow castigated the president's tariffs as "prosperity killers" and encouraged Cohn to stay at the White House.

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