Kudlow, 70, discussed the rigors of the job with family and friends before joining the White House staff. He was worried that the long hours and travel could potentially take a toll on his health, according to a person with direct knowledge of what Kudlow said. A major part of his job has been to serve as the administration’s top economic salesman – soothing markets and continuing to sell voters on the merits of year’s tax bill.
Larry Kudlow, the top White House economic adviser, suffered a heart attack on Monday, President Donald Trump and the White House announced.
“Our Great Larry Kudlow, who has been working so hard on trade and the economy, has just suffered a heart attack,” Trump tweeted from Singapore shortly before he met Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader. “He is now in Walter Reed Medical Center.”
A short while later, the White House issued a statement.
“Earlier today National Economic Council director and assistant to the president Larry Kudlow experienced what his doctors say was a very mild heart attack,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “Larry is currently in good condition at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and his doctors expect he will make a full and speedy recovery. The president and his administration send their thoughts and prayers to Larry and his family.”
Kudlow’s close friend Stephen Moore, of the Heritage Foundation, said in a brief phone call that he thought Kudlow would be all right. “He was burning the candle at both ends,” Moore said as he was heading to the hospital.
Kudlow did not come to work at the White House at all on Monday.
He has been working furiously behind the scenes since he joined the administration as director of the NEC this spring, to hammer out trade deals with China and to save NAFTA from collapsing – all while trying to convince investors that the president was not launching a trade war anytime soon.
Just last week Kudlow traveled to the G-7 summit in Canada alongside the president and other top aides just last week. He then spent his Sunday morning angrily denouncing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada on TV. He called Trudeau’s comments at the G-7 a betrayal.
“He really kind of stabbed us in the back,” Kudlow said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Kudlow also recently trekked to China as part of a trade delegation. The trade talks have been especially fraught within the administration, since various top officials hold radically different views on that policy and because the president cares so deeply about the issue.
Several administration officials have commented privately on the seeming fragility of Kudlow’s health, worrying that the job could quickly run him ragged. The president’s tweet came as a surprise to NEC staff members who were frantically trying to get more information on Kudlow’s condition.
Kudlow, 70, discussed the rigors of the job with family and friends before joining the White House staff. He was worried that the long hours and travel could potentially take a toll on his health, according to a person with direct knowledge of what Kudlow said.
He had reduced his hectic schedule in recent years, giving up his nightly television show on CNBC, and knew that going to Washington, particularly into this administration, presented risks.
The White House press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Inside the White House, he’s seen as an affable senior staffer who has great personal chemistry with Trump and can go on television with ease, given his years as a CNBC commentator. A major part of his job has been to serve as the administration’s top economic salesman – soothing markets and continuing to sell voters on the merits of year’s tax bill.
On trade, he has been eager to cast himself as someone willing to work collaboratively to fulfill the president’s agenda.
“No one controls the process about trade,” Kudlow told POLITICO in an interview in mid-May. “We have a group of people, you know who they are. We meet with the president on a regular basis, often several times a week. Not the NEC nor any other group is going to control that process. The guy who controls the process is the president.”
Kudlow and Trump got to know each other when Trump appeared with some frequency on Kudlow’s program, and two men are also longtime New York City residents.
Kudlow also served as a chief economist at Bear Stearns and as the top economist at the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan.
Ben White contributed to this report.
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