President Donald Trump said Tuesday he is looking "very strongly" at financial analyst Larry Kudlow to replace Gary Cohn as his top economic adviser, citing Kudlow's support for utilizing trade tariffs as a negotiating tactic with other countries as an appealing factor in the decision.
"I'm looking at Larry Kudlow very strongly. I've known him a long time," Trump told reporters outside the White House.
Kudlow if chosen would replace Cohn, the former National Economic Council director who resigned last Tuesday amid a battle with other administration officials over Trump's plan to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on other countries. The president indicated Tuesday that Kudlow was in favor of his strategy to use the duties to leverage more favorable deals for the U.S.
"We don't agree on everything but in this case I think it's good. I want a divergent opinion," the president said. "He now has come around to believing in tariffs as also a negotiating point."
Kudlow has been widely-seen as a leading candidate for the role, despite his criticism of Trump's decision to impose the 10-percent tariff on aluminum and 25-percent tariff on steel imports. One senior administration official told POLITICO Monday that the selection could be formalized within 24 hours, but that the decision had not yet been finalized.
The announcement came shortly after Trump announced on Twitter that CIA Director Mike Pompeo would replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, the latest in a series of prominent staffing changes for the Trump administration.
Trump said Tuesday he is "also speaking to many others" in selecting who will become the administration's top economic adviser, but added that "Larry has a very good chance."
Kudlow, a CNBC contributor and on-air personality, previously served in the Ronald Reagan administration as an associate director of economics and planning for the Office of Management and Budget.