Tuesday, March 13, 2018

He Only Hires The Best People

And speaking of personnel changes in the White House, Donald Trump sees people on TV he thinks are knowledgeable, he wants them in the White House. With Gary Cohn departing from the Trump regime in the wake of Trump's tariff disaster, the job of Chief Economic Adviser may end up going to America's worst economic pundit, Larry Kudlow.

Larry Kudlow is the leading contender to head President Donald Trump's National Economic Council and would take the job if offered it, CNBC's Jim Cramer reported Monday.

Trump has not formally offered the job, but Kudlow is a leading choice of not only Trump but also some of his advisors to replace Gary Cohn as the president's top economic advisor. A White House official, who declined to be named, confirmed to CNBC that Kudlow is on the list of candidates but said the administration did not have personnel announcements to make.

Kudlow declined to comment.

Kudlow, a CNBC senior contributor and longtime on-air personality, helped to craft economic policy during the Reagan administration. Cramer worked with Kudlow on the CNBC show "Kudlow and Cramer."

Cohn announced his resignation as head of the National Economic Council last week after he lost his battle to block the Trump administration's move to levy tariffs on steel and aluminum. Kudlow advocates for free trade and generally opposes tariffs. He expressed his disappointment with Cohn's departure.

Kudlow informally advised Trump on taxes and other issues during his 2016 run for the presidency.

I've spent close to ten years pointing out how wrong Larry Kudlow has been on the economy.  Now he may be advising Trump on how to run it.  If you somehow thought we were going to escape a brutal recession before, with Kudlow whispering in Trump's ear, we're headed there even faster.

Terminus Mortuus Est Rex

The Trump regime spring cleaning dirtying continues, and this one's big: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is out, with CIA Director Mike Pompeo taking over.

President Trump has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and plans to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him as the nation’s top diplomat, orchestrating a major change to his national security team amid delicate negotiations with North Korea, White House officials said Tuesday.

Trump last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside, and the embattled diplomat cut short his trip to Africa on Monday to return to Washington.

Pompeo will replace him at the State Department, and Gina Haspel — the deputy director at the CIA — will succeed him at the CIA, becoming the first woman to run the spy agency, if confirmed.

In a statement issued to The Washington Post, Trump praised both Pompeo and Haspel.

“I am proud to nominate the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, to be our new Secretary of State,” Trump said. “Mike graduated first in his class at West Point, served with distinction in the U.S. Army, and graduated with Honors from Harvard Law School. He went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives with a proven record of working across the aisle.”

The president continued, “Gina Haspel, the Deputy Director of the CIA, will be nominated to replace Director Pompeo and she will be the CIA’s first-ever female director, a historic milestone. Mike and Gina have worked together for more than a year, and have developed a great mutual respect.”

Trump also had words of praise for Tillerson: “Finally, I want to thank Rex Tillerson for his service. A great deal has been accomplished over the last fourteen months, and I wish him and his family well.”

The president — who has long clashed will Tillerson, who he believes is “too establishment” in his thinking — felt it was important to make the change now, as he prepares for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as well as upcoming trade negotiations, three White House officials said.

Two things:  Trump definitely now feels he is unfettered and can do whatever the hell he wants to right now.  He's not wrong, nobody's going to try to stop him.  House Republicans surely proved that yesterday.  Trump says he told Rex on Friday that his services would no longer be required, Tillerson says that he was never told, but this announcement came just hours after Tillerson remarked that the State Department believed Russia was "clearly" behind the chemical weapon attack in Britain last week that put ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the hospital.

The second is that the odds of US military action against Syria and North Korea just went skyward.  Bringing in the CIA head as your new chief diplomat is not even pretending peace was ever on the table.  The only question now is the timeframe.

War is definitely coming.  In his own thoroughly corrupt but predictable way, Tillerson was the last holdout for diplomacy.  It's all swamp monsters now, and they're packing thermite and Everclear.


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