U.S. President Donald Trump’s chief economic advisor, the key player in the White House’s trade war who blasted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the weekend, suffered a heart attack Monday evening.
Larry Kudlow was taken to a Washington-area hospital, Mr. Trump announced on Twitter.
“Our Great Larry Kudlow, who has been working so hard on trade and the economy, has just suffered a heart attack,” the President wrote, minutes before heading into a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore. “He is now in Walter Reed Medical Center.”
In a statement about an hour later, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders described the heart attack as “very mild” and said Mr. Kudlow was “currently in good condition.”
“His doctors expect he will make a full and speedy recovery,” she said.
A 70-year-old former financier, Mr. Kudlow left Wall Street in 2001 to work for the conservative magazine National Review and later appeared in a string of political and economic current-affairs shows on the MSNBC news channel.
Mr. Trump hired him in April to replace Gary Cohn as the head of the National Economic Council, reportedly because he enjoyed Mr. Kudlow’s combative television appearances.
During internal White House deliberations this spring, Mr. Kudlow argued in favour of cutting a quick deal with Canada and Mexico to resolve NAFTA renegotiations, sources with knowledge of the confidential talks said. While he had the backing of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, he was ultimately overruled by Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative.
Canada pushed for a fast deal – with Mr. Trudeau dispatching two of his top staffers to the White House in a bid to reach one in mid-May – in which Ottawa would agree to U.S. demands on auto content rules and changes to Canada’s protected dairy market in exchange for the Trump administration dropping most of its other protectionist demands.
Last week, Mr. Kudlow floated the possibility of dividing NAFTA talks and cutting separate bilateral deals with Canada and Mexico. The Canadian government immediately rejected the idea.
Mr. Kudlow is nominally in favour of free trade, but has backed Mr. Trump’s nationalistic economic agenda, which has included steel and aluminium tariffs against Canada, Mexico and the European Union, as well as threats of further tariffs on autos.
After Mr. Trudeau reiterated at the G7 on Saturday that Canada would impose retaliatory tariffs in response to Mr. Trump’s metal levies – and the President accused Mr. Trudeau of being “weak and dishonest” – Mr. Kudlow disparaged the Prime Minister in surprisingly personal terms.
In an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning, Mr. Kudlow said Mr. Trudeau had “stabbed us in the back” and made the President look “weak” before his summit with Mr. Kim.
“POTUS is not going to let a Canadian prime minister push him around,” he said. “This guy, Trudeau, starts blasting us.”