President Trump announced that he intends to nominate Kevin Hassett, a tax expert and prominent economist at the American Enterprise Institute, to serve as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
The chairman will serve as the chief economist for the White House and join Peter Navarro, White House National Trade Council chair, and Gary Cohn, National Economic Council director, as senior economic advisers to President Trump.
Hassett received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and served as an assistant professor at Columbia and as an economist at the Federal Reserve in the 1990s. In 1997, he joined the American Enterprise Institute. He also advised three presidential candidates: Mitt Romney, John McCain, and George W. Bush.
Mr. Hassett’s expertise in tax policy would help the Trump administration devise a tax reform package. Glenn Hubbard, the former economic council chair under President George W. Bush, commended Hassett, saying, “The tax changes being considered are really aimed at boosting investment, so I think Kevin is exactly the right person.”
The nominee has written work supporting free trade and immigration. His leadership at the Council of Economic Advisers would aid the Wall Street moderates and establishment Republicans against the economic nationalists in the Trump administration.
Hassett wrote as a Bloomberg News columnist from 2005 to 2011. He authored pieces advocating for corporate tax cuts to create jobs, bipartisan entitlement reform, and against increasing the minimum wage. He said that “out-of-control government regulation started the mess” of the housing crisis.
As a columnist for Bloomberg, Hassett wrote about Trump’s chances of becoming president. In February 2011, he wrote that Trump’s past actions and positions “may collectively provide the biggest handicap for a major candidate in the history of presidential politics,” although Trump’s instant name recognition and a “magnetic leadership quality” may bolster his chances of winning the election. Hassett added, “It would be wrong to dismiss him out of hand as many political insiders have.”