Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Trump's New Economic Aide: Loves Trade with Canada, Calls Trudeau 'Crazy' Lefty

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Trump's New Economic Aide: Loves Trade with Canada, Calls Trudeau 'Crazy' Lefty

Article excerpt

New top Trump adviser: pro-NAFTA, anti-tariff

--

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump's new top economic adviser's views on trade will likely thrill Justin Trudeau -- so long as he's willing to overlook some of his other views: specifically, those involving the prime minister himself.

A former Wall Street analyst and current cable-TV personality, Larry Kudlow was named Wednesday as the new director of the White House National Economic Council.

He's a blunt-talking booster of trade with Canada, giving the northern neighbour a high-profile new advocate at a sensitive moment in Canada-U.S. relations. His mince-no-words, take-no-prisoners punditry indicates that he holds Canada-loving, NAFTA-supporting, tariff-opposing views.

His view of the prime minister? That's another story.

''Unfortunately we're going after a major NAFTA ally. Perhaps America's greatest ally. Namely, Canada,'' Kudlow said on CNBC, discussing possible tariffs two weeks ago.

''Even with this left-wing crazy guy Trudeau ... they're still our pals. Why are we going after them?''

Trump had said he wanted someone whose views would clash with his own nationalist impulses and that's precisely what he's getting: in his commentary, Kudlow has been scathingly critical of protectionist moves like steel tariffs.

Key debates over NAFTA are likely to unfold over the coming weeks as the White House makes a long-shot effort to try wrapping up a deal by spring, and getting it ratified by the end of the year.

Kudlow's Twitter feed is filled with pro-trade tweets. In one recent radio appearance Kudlow began by criticizing the president's steel and aluminum tariffs, then pivoted into a prediction of economic disaster should Trump cancel NAFTA.

"My greatest fear ... is not the steel thing but that we will walk away from NAFTA -- which I think would be a calamitously bad decision," Kudlow told "The John Batchelor Show" a few days ago.

"It would turn business against the president ... and would, frankly, blow up the whole stock market."

Kudlow replaces the like-minded Gary Cohn as head of the council; like his predecessor, he is likely to clash with the more protectionist wing of the White House, embodied by trade adviser Peter Navarro, and the president himself.

Previews of the battles ahead came in that radio interview.

Kudlow called U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer the "master" of trade-penalty laws -- laws Kudlow said make no sense. He also pointed out that the person leading the steel-tariff file for Trump, Wilbur Ross, owned steel companies.

He said the U.S. has all the steel it needs, and shouldn't be punishing its entire economy by setting tariffs to protect a tiny fraction of businesses.

''These (steel producers) want protection, they're not competitive, they're bloated companies,'' Kudlow.

Ross has argued that the tariffs are legitimate under national-security law. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.