WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump signaled on Tuesday that conservative commentator Larry Kudlow is the front-runner to become the top economic adviser at the White House, though he said he was also speaking with other candidates.
Kudlow, 70, a long-time friend and early supporter of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, would fill the vacancy at the National Economic Council created by the resignation of veteran Wall Street banker Gary Cohn.
Cohn announced his resignation as NEC director last week in a move that was triggered by Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Kudlow has also publicly disagreed with the tariffs.
But Trump said Kudlow has “come around” to see the tariffs as a useful tool for renegotiating trade deals.
“We don’t agree on everything, but in this case, I think that’s good. I want to have a divergent opinion. We agree on most,” Trump said.
“I think Larry has a very good chance,” Trump told reporters.
Kudlow was an economic adviser to former Republican President Ronald Reagan and spent time on Wall Street before becoming a recognized face on cable television.
Chris Liddell, a White House official who is a former executive at Microsoft Corp and General Motors Co, is also under consideration for the job, a White House official said on Sunday.
Peter Navarro, a trade adviser to Trump who pushed for the steel and aluminum tariffs, has also been touted as a candidate for the top economic job, though he has said he is not in the running.
Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao