WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. television commentator and conservative economic analyst Larry Kudlow said on Wednesday that President Donald Trump had picked him to replace Gary Cohn as the top White House economic adviser.
“The president offered me the position last evening and I accepted,” Kudlow told Reuters, adding that he expected a formal announcement on his appointment as director of the National Economic Council could come on Thursday.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders confirmed that Trump spoke to Kudlow on Tuesday, but she would not confirm that the president had offered the 70-year-old CNBC contributor the position. “No personnel announcements,” she told reporters.
The appointment of Kudlow, a supporter of supply-side economics and familiar face in both Washington and on Wall Street, comes as Trump increasingly seeks to surround himself with like-minded advisers.
The president, who has described Kudlow as a long-time friend, hinted on Tuesday morning that he was likely to give him the job.
Trump told reporters at the White House that Kudlow, a Republican who served as an economic adviser to former President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and also worked on Wall Street, had “a very good chance” of being selected to replace Cohn.
Cohn, a Democrat and “globalist” who was seen as a moderating influence on the president’s economic policies, resigned after a disagreement with Trump’s decision to impose steep tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.
Kudlow, an informal advisor to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, had also criticized the president’s decision, saying tariffs would harm steel-consuming producers.
But Trump said on Wednesday that Kudlow had “come around” to view tariffs as a useful tool for renegotiating trade deals.
Kudlow has championed what he describes as “pro-growth” economic policies that include cutting taxes and regulation and boosting free trade.
The White House economic adviser can have wide influence over the president on a wide variety of issues from steering economic policy to offering guidance on whom to choose for open positions at the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Cohn helped lead Trump’s overhaul of the tax code last year and was slated to spearhead efforts to pass an infrastructure spending bill this year.
Additional reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Paul Simao