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Trump picks tax cut evangelist as new top economic adviser

US President Donald Trump has chosen Larry Kudlow to be his top economic aide, elevating the influence of a longtime fixture on the CNBC business news network who previously served in the Reagan administration and has emerged as a leading evangelist for tax cuts and smaller government.

Key points:

  • New economic aide says economy poised to take off
  • Kudlow says China has not played by trade rules
  • The 70-year-old has advised Trump administration in past

Mr Kudlow said he had accepted the offer, and that the US's economy was poised to take off after Mr Trump signed $US1.5 trillion ($1.9 trillion) worth of tax cuts into law.

"The economy is starting to roar and we're going to get more of that," he said.

Mr Kudlow will join an administration in the middle of a tumultuous remodelling as a wave of White House staffers and top officials have departed in recent weeks.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump unceremoniously fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via Twitter.

Mr Kudlow will succeed Gary Cohn, a former investment banking executive who is leaving the post after a dispute over the President's decision to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminium.

With Mr Trump's tax cuts already being implemented, Mr Kudlow will be advising a President who appears increasingly determined to tax foreign imports — a policy Mr Kudlow personally opposes.

Mr Kudlow said he was "in accord" with Mr Trump's agenda and his team at the White House would help implement the policies set by the President.

A man walks down stairs off a plane

Having informally advised the Trump administration in the past and having spoken with the President "at some length in recent days", Mr Kudlow, 70, said he was ready "to hit the ground running" and will be in Washington on Thursday (local time) to meet with Mr Trump.

China deserves tough response: Kudlow

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration is preparing for an orderly transition and "will keep everyone posted" on when Mr Kudlow officially assumes the job.

Mr Kudlow said he was relieved by proposed exclusions for certain countries to the President's announced steel and aluminium tariffs.

Mr Kudlow also said on Wednesday China had earned a tough response from the United States and other countries on trade, even though he had previously criticised "blanket" tariffs.

"China has not played by the rules for a long time … I must say, as somebody who doesn't like tariffs, I think China has earned a tough response," said Mr Kudlow, adding he hoped a coalition of countries would act against China on trade.

Friends and colleagues say Mr Kudlow possesses two critical attributes prized by the President: He is a bluntly spoken debater and is resolutely loyal.

"He's a very sensitive man and a very logical man, which is exactly what Trump needs," said Arthur Laffer, a well-known economist and longtime friend of Mr Kudlow.

Mr Laffer described Kudlow as someone who would be inclined to offer "unvarnished" advice to the President on the appropriate path for economic policy.

"And if by chance, he doesn't convince the President of something, he will be a loyal employee," Mr Laffer said.

"He stays loyal even if the decision goes against him."

AP/Reuters

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