White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow got testy with a reporter for pointing out his hypocrisy on trade — and advised him not to go all “class warfare” on him.
Marketplace editor Kai Ryssdal met with Kudlow in his second-floor West Wing office, where the two had a heated back-and-forth on all things trade-related.
When the economic adviser bragged that the country was in the greatest economic boom it’s seen in a decade, Ryssdal noted that the trend began long before Donald Trump took office.
“We’re starting to see a real takeoff in the 10th year of an economic expansion,” the reporter said. “Is that what you’re saying?”
“I don’t really think we had a 10-year economic expansion,” Kudlow responded. “In fact, my view is before President Trump was elected, what we had was not only the weakest recovery but in the old days, we would call it a growth recession.”
Later in the interview, Ryssdal told an anecdote about speaking to Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), a pro-Trump member of Congress whose constituents in the town of Elkhart, Indiana are hurting from the president’s steel tariffs.
When the reporter pointed out that those Indianans are in “pain” because of the actions of their federal government, Kudlow tried to minimize the damage it does to companies in the Midwest.
“I appreciate the concern, absolutely,” the adviser said. “But I will say so far the pain has been de minimis, really very little.”
“With all respect,” Ryssdal replied, “that’s easy for you to say sitting here on the second floor of the West Wing of the White House.”
Kudlow then appeared to take issue with the reporter’s comment.
“Now, don’t class warfare me or anything like that,” he told Ryssdal, adding that the White House knows “quantitatively” that the tariffs have had an “almost unmeasurable impact” on gross domestic product.
Listen below, via Marketplace.