Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Monday applauded President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of Janet Yellen to lead the Treasury Department — breaking with other Trump administration officials who have not even acknowledged that Biden won the election.
Kudlow offered the surprising praise for Yellen during a live interview with The Washington Post, during which the National Economic Council director also revealed that he has started sending congratulatory notes to some early Biden appointees.
Kudlow’s comments come as President Donald Trump refuses to accept Biden’s victory in the November election and has demanded that key states overturn their results because of what he calls voter fraud.
Kudlow said Yellen’s nomination to lead Treasury was a “good idea.” He said she “knows the ropes” and did a “decent job” when she chaired the Federal Reserve. He also doubts she would support raising taxes next year.
“I might not agree with her on every point,” he said. “She was more of a spender. I’m a tax cutter, as you know, a supply sider. But I think she has very sensible views on the economy.”
When pressed to comment on Biden’s team, Kudlow acknowledged that Trump was continuing to contest the election. “First of all, we’ve got to get through the Electoral College,” he said. “We’ll see how that shapes up. As you know, the president is still pursuing various avenues to stop what he believes and what others believe is a good deal of election fraud.”
Still, Kudlow said he had sent a note congratulating Jared Bernstein, a left-leaning economist whom Biden named to his Council of Economic Advisers.
“I myself, besides Jared, have been friends or colleagues — pals — with a number of the folks coming in,” Kudlow said. “To lesser degrees or more degrees, I agree or disagree with their policies. I’m not going to take their inventory. I believe in honeymoons.”
Kudlow, who was a CNBC host and contributor before joining the Trump White House, said he planned to return to New York and “will go back to the TV and radio business, which I love so much.”
As for the prospect of Congress passing additional economic relief before the end of the year, Kudlow said “the odds are improving.” He said officials were focusing on a roughly $900 billion agreement being worked out between moderates in the Senate and House. He said any potential deal would need to include liability protections for businesses — a top priority for Republicans — and that Trump did not want a “gigantic assistance package” for state and local governments, a priority for Democrats.
Kudlow said he believes that the bipartisan legislation had “moved significantly in the Republican Senate direction and in the White House direction.”