Goldman Sachs alumnus Gary Cohn resigned as director of the National Economic Council in protest to President Donald Trump’s recently imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. Yet Trump’s pick for Cohn’s replacement, conservative commentator Larry Kudlow, has previously taken a similar position as his predecessor.
But Trump appeared well aware of those differences between himself and Kudlow, noting a day ago that he and his pick “don’t agree with everything,” but that they do agree on most. Then on Wednesday, Kudlow decided to accept the top post.
So who exactly is Kudlow?
He has a history with Trump
If the name Larry Kudlow rings a bell, it may have something to do with the CNBC commentator’s role as an informal advisor to Trump during the 2016 election campaign. Kudlow, who has praised Trump’s tax cuts, helped put early versions of those proposals together on the campaign trail. Later, Trump reportedly considered appointing Kudlow as the head of the White House Council of Economic Advisors
Kudlow has worked in the White House previously
Unlike Cohn, who spent his career in the private sector, Kudlow got his start working several senatorial campaigns before eventually working as an economist at the New York Federal Reserve. He would later work at the Office of Management and Budget during President Ronald Reagan’s first term, before leaping into the private sector in 1987 as chief economist at Bear Sterns until 1994.
He is no fan of Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs
Though in a lot of ways, Kudlow may as well be a continuation of Cohn’s economic thinking.
Like his predecessor, and most economists, Kudlow is no fan of Trump’s import tariffs. In a co-authored piece in the National Review earlier this month with economist Arthur Laffer and analyst Stephen Moore, Kudlow opined that “steel and aluminum may win in the short term, but steel-and-aluminum users and consumers lose… Tariffs are really tax hikes.”
Though more recently, Trump said that Kudlow had begun to come around to his point of view on tariffs. “[Kudlow] now has come around to believing in tariffs also as a negotiating point,” Trump said, according to the Washington Post.
And similar to Cohn, Kudlow believes in supply-side economic policies, championing Trump’s tax cuts.
In abortion and immigration policies, Trump and Kudlow find an easy middle ground
As recently as November, Cohn reiterated that he is still a Democrat.
Kudlow on the other hand has broadly fallen in line with various Republican-leaning policies. Kudlow has dubbed Trump’s opposition to abortion “a wonderful thing.” With the rise of ISIS, Kudlow has also taken a more protectionist view on immigration in line with Trump. While as recently as 2014, Kudlow supported legal immigration for the sake of economic growth, Kudlow wrote in late 2015 that “this is war.”
“I have come to believe there should be no immigration or visa waivers until the U.S. adopts a completely new system to stop radical Islamic terrorists from entering the country,” he wrote in another National Review article.