Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, will be leaving the administration soon, President Trump tweeted Sunday night.
Hassett, who was an economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute before joining the administration, has been a staunch proponent of Trump economic policies, including the 2017 tax cuts.
“He provided relentlessly positive economic analysis, served as a booster for the president’s trade policies and was well liked at the White House,” Bloomberg’s Justin Sink writes. “Hassett’s tenure was also marred by occasional factual miscues and the decision to quibble with traditional statistics that didn’t support Trump’s claims of historic economic growth. His office has regularly promoted alternative measures to data produced by the Congressional Budget Office, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau on key issues including wages, inflation, poverty and deficits, while complaining about outside analyses that showed the president’s trade conflicts hurting the economy.”
Hassett told CNN that no one asked him to leave, adding that it is normal for CEA chairmen to step down after two years. Hassett has been in his position since September 2017.
He told CNBC that his departure is not related to the president’s tariff threats against China and Mexico. “It’s normal, circle of life kind of stuff,” he said. In an interview on CNN Monday, Hassett said that the chances of hitting Trump’s economic growth target for this year are increasingly uncertain given the administration’s trade war and a growing budget deficit: “I’m still at 3% for the year, but the point is the uncertainty about the forecast is much higher than the last time we talked."
Hassett added that, to boost growth, the U.S. should consider cutting government spending: “If the president wants to go from 3% to 4% in his second term, then fiscal consolidation should be on the table, absolutely,” he said.
Trump said in his tweet that he would name a “very talented replacement” for Hassett once he returns from his overseas trip.