Main Dish

Trump Whisperer Larry Kudlow: Just a Friend?

December 15, 2016

Drill, baby, drill! fans, Trump administration whisperer Larry Kudlow says you’ll be in luck under the new administration, which he may join -- taking, in his words, a “second bite at the apple” after an earlier stint in the Reagan White House.

Mentioned as potential Chair of Trump's White House Council of Economic Advisors, Kudlow was interviewed before a standing-room only crowd Tuesday at the W Hotel by respected journalist Ben White, who writes the must-read Morning Money column for POLITICO.

D.C. policy and media leaders Laurens ten Cate of Americans for Tax Reform, Andrew Busch, political economist at Bering Productions, and Rich Miller of Bloomberg at a lunch with potential White House nominee Larry Kudlow interviewed by POLITICO's Ben White (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) D.C. policy and media leaders Laurens ten Cate of Americans for Tax Reform, Andrew Busch, political economist at Bering Productions, and Rich Miller of Bloomberg at a lunch with potential White House nominee Larry Kudlow interviewed by POLITICO's Ben White
The Huffington Post said the appointment “could work, provided the scenario involves periodically releasing Kudlow from a box, getting his advice, stuffing him back inside, and then doing exactly the opposite of his suggestions.” Ouch.

Here’s what the genial Kudlow had to say to Ben White at the POLITICO luncheon in Washington this week:

While Trump’s selection of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State might be raising eyebrows on both sides of the aisle, “I think it’s an inspired appointment,” Kudlow said.  “Nobody would have expected it. It’s a good thing to know a lot of world leaders, and he’s a negotiator. He’s not going to give the store away.”

Kudlow went on to cite a story by Jerry Seib in the Wall Street Journal. “Trump wants to destroy ISIS, but he’s unlikely in other places to bring down the dictator. Instead, he’ll want to make a decent deal.”

The Art of the Deal” is going to be a theme in this reality show – I mean, government!

Bob Radano, Georgetown resident and principal of Hedge Media, and Chris Jones of CapitolWorks are ahead of the game getting to know players in the Trump administration (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Bob Radano, Georgetown resident and principal of Hedge Media, and Chris Jones of CapitolWorks are ahead of the game getting to know players in the Trump administration
Until now, there were more generals appointed to top posts than Goldman Sachs alums, but Kudlow pointed out that the Goldman crowd has caught up with the choices of Steve Mnuchin for Treasury, and Goldman COO Gary Cohn as head of the National Economic Council.

Get ready for “four or five percent growth” for a few years, Kudlow said.

And having generals in broad, normally civilian cabinet roles is a good thing. “My saintly wife [painter Judith Pond Kudlow], an Air Force brat, daughter of a full-bird colonel before he retired, said this: ‘Generals hate war. But if the mission is war, generals will win it.’ We haven’t had that for the last eight years.”

More victories: Kudlow said corporate tax reform is coming, maybe before the wrecking ball hits Obamacare.

“My first choice was to eliminate the corporate tax altogether, but 15 percent ain’t bad,” he said, praising House Speaker Paul Ryan and RepKevin Brady (R-TX), chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, now a forward-field command base for tax cutters.

On encouraging global companies to bring their dollars home at a reduced rate, “Just keep the [tax rate] as low as possible. I don’t care how it is used. I don’t want any strictures on it whatsoever.”

A capacity crowd at the POLITICO lunch with Ben White and Larry Kudlow (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) A capacity crowd at the POLITICO lunch with Ben White and Larry Kudlow
“In Kudlow world, if you provide the right incentives, U.S. companies will stay,” he added.

“You’ve always been a free trader,” White offered.

Kudlow: “You noticed.”  

Trump, or at least his rhetoric, is not, White pointed out. “Is he going to rip up the NAFTA agreement and slap tariffs on China?”

Kudlow: “It’s fraught with peril how I answer this. I’ll give you my opinion of what I think he’ll do. Negotiate, renegotiate – The Art of the Deal. Carrots and sticks. I don’t believe he’s a major protectionist – that’s my view. But NAFTA has grown old and could use some improvements.”

On China: The country “lies, cheats and steals. But I don’t think they’re a currency manipulator. Counterfeiting, cyberhacking, we’ve got to talk about that,” Kudlow said. “But I don’t think [Trump’s] a knee-jerk tariff guy. He just wants trade to be pro-American. Here’s where a guy like Tillerson is going to come in handy.”

Repeatedly saying he’s a “friend” and not a spokesman for the nascent administration (translation: he may be joining the administration soon), Kudlow’s forecast is that “the president-elect will do a bilateral trade agreement with Britain.”

“I’m a big believer in the English-speaking trading world,” Kudlow said. “I think there’s a commonality. I call it Magna Carta 2.0.”

White noticed that Kudlow was on a long call about policy in the green room before the interview started. “[Trump] has my cell phone number,” Kudlow said.

Will Kudlow serve in a Trump administration? “I think it’s going to be an historic administration,” he said. Kudlow was associate director for economics and planning in the Reagan  Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a part of the Executive Office of the President. While he worked at the OMB, Kudlow was also an advisory committee member of Freddie Mac.

“Usually you get one bite at that apple, but if the Lord gives me two…,” yes, he would serve, he said, adding that Trump is a very good listener, “But someone who will speak his mind.”  

Yet, Kudlow predicts that Trump will have much better relations with Congress, with both parties, than anyone expects.

“To be a really good Republican you have to first be a Democrat. Ronald Reagan was a Democrat first, I was a Democrat. Trump was a Democrat for many years,” he said. In fact, Kudlow was a member of left-wing Students for Democratic Action, and a college tennis standout at the University of Rochester as an undergraduate.

In his new book JFK and the Reagan Revolution, the CNBC senior contributor argues that President John F. Kennedy, not Ronald Reagan, was “the first tax-cutting supply-sider.” The book, he said, makes a great Christmas gift. Kennedy would have been a Republican today, Kudlow added.

Calling Mnuchin an “excellent pick” who should be praised for doing “the best he could” buying banks that foreclosed on distressed loans during the financial crisis, Kudlow said he likes Trump’s recent statements criticizing Boeing’s price tag to build the next generation of Air Force Ones.

“Trump is going to end the war against business,” Kudlow said. “Having said that, there are behemoths -- they’re good companies -- but there’s a lot of concern about crony capitalism. You know what? I agree with him. Cost overruns have been going on since John the Baptizer,” Kudlow said, drawing laughs.

The Boeing proposal is “a hell of a lot of money for an airplane. [Trump] has an airplane. He knows something about it.”

Kudlow predicted that, despite charges that Trump spreads misinformation and engages in personal attacks on Twitter, the president-elect will continue to use it as a bully pulpit. “You can agree or disagree with him. But he’s going to keep using those pipes. I think it’s kind of interesting. And I think presidential tweets are here to stay."

Regarding the possibility of Russian hacking of the presidential election? “It needs to be investigated,” Kudlow said, most seriously.

Meanwhile, “It’s Morning in America, Again” is just 140 characters...or less…

 


Click here to share your thoughts.


Ivanka Trump: Hosting a Georgetown Salon Near You?

December 13, 2016

If there’s a Trump bump for restaurants, Georgetown is first in line, said The Washington Post.

Ivanka and Eric Trump, both of whom attended Georgetown University, enjoyed the clubs and bars like most undergraduates do.

There are more good reasons for the younger Trumps, especially Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, to choose Georgetown not just to party in, but to live.

Top-notch schools like the Montessori School of Georgetown, the British International School, Georgetown Day, and the Washington International School are steps away.    

There’s Kesher Israel, which on its website calls itself, “a modern Orthodox synagogue…14 blocks from the White House”! If the Trumps lived nearby, they could walk, which the orthodox Jewish faith they follow requires on the Sabbath. They could walk to Dad’s house on Saturday, if necessary.

Politico’s Ben White, a native Washingtonian who writes the must-read daily “Morning Money” column, wonders whether the young Trumps could give Georgetown a boost.   

Kesher Israel (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Kesher Israel

“I would imagine so, if they’re there, there will be a lot of entertaining,” he told The Georgetown Dish. “If you’re in the inner circle, you’ll want to be there, I’m sure the leading media people will want to be there. So maybe the days of the Georgetown salon will come back.”

Consummate Georgetown hostess Sally Quinn offered some dinner party advice recently in Washington Life. First, she said, invite Democrats and Republicans alike. Second, even though it’s Washington, make it fun.

“…There’s a fine line between having substance and having a meeting. You don’t want to have a meeting. You want people to have fun, but they also want to discuss things that they care about. I sort of go high/low. We can talk about Aleppo and then switch to Brad and Angelina’s divorce. That’s very important to having a great dinner party,” Quinn said.

The young Trumps could give Georgetown a boost, and their presence could help Dad, observers say.

Donald Trump could use some image softening, especially in political Washington. “Ivanka would be the natural person to do that,” White said.

And maybe more. “Remember when every problem in Washington could be solved over a glass of brandy? When partisan politics were set aside by reasonable people for the common good?” wrote Roxanne Roberts in the Washington Post, reviewing “The City of Conversation,” an Arena Stage play about a Georgetown hostess, earlier this year.

“It never happened quite that way,” she wrote.

But could it be Morning in Georgetown?


1 Comment   Click here to share your thoughts.


Tip of the Spear: Marines Land at Trump Hotel

December 11, 2016

Rained on by fire, splattered by blood and shrapnel, Marines are America's rapid-reaction force to crisis, sometimes called America's "911 force."

Major Gen. Ed Usher USMC (Ret.) and Dave Cooper (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Major Gen. Ed Usher USMC (Ret.) and Dave Cooper

President-elect Trump chose James “Mad Dog” Mattis, a retired Marine four-star general, to be Secretary of Defense. He picked retired Marine General John Kelly to be Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS).

And Thursday evening, Marine infantry veteran David Cooper hosted a retinue of former USMC generals and colleagues at the Trump International Hotel for the annual holiday party of Anglicotech, a small IT company he founded and leads as CEO, a veteran-owned small business.

"I'm very proud of what we do," said the Department of Defense contractor. "There are a lot of Marines here tonight." 

Col. Henry Moak, US Army (Ret.), Chuck Hasper, Angie Harris, Dave Cooper, and Randy Delarm, Angliotech COO (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Col. Henry Moak, US Army (Ret.), Chuck Hasper, Angie Harris, Dave Cooper, and Randy Delarm, Angliotech COO
Anglicotech is an Information Technology company specializing in supply chain management, solving problems of national importance by integrating new technologies in ways that create new capabilities for customers.  Many veterans are among the team of 65.

So, there were shouts of “Oorah!” as team members were thanked and champagne corks popped. The Marine contingent included Major General Edward G. Usher, III, (USMC, Ret.), Master Gunnery Sergeant Patrick Anthes (USMC, Ret.) and others.

Shoulder-to-shoulder were high-profile attorneys, Trump transition advisers, journalists and a noticeably professional and attentive team of Trump Hotel staff. 

Yes, you can drink Trump wine at the Trump International Hotel (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Yes, you can drink Trump wine at the Trump International Hotel
It is said there is no such thing as a “former” Marine. It’s a calling, a fraternity, a priesthood of sorts. And with Gen. “Mad Dog” Mattis and Gen. Kelly in high positions, one can expect a certain style to pervade the Pentagon and DHS, which together employ millions.

DOD is the largest employer in the world, with 2.8 million employees, not to mention contractors. DHS, which includes the U.S. Secret Service, the TSA, ICE and the Coast Guard, among others, has 240,000 FTEs. That’s a lot of people who now ultimately answer to a Marine.

As anyone who has worked for a Marine can tell you, it helps to know a few concepts in advance:

  • If you’re on time, you’re late.
  • BAMCIS: the acronym for the Marine Corps’ six troop-leading steps, a recurring mantra. It stands for Begin the planning, Arrange reconnaissance, Make reconnaissance, Complete the planning, Issue the order, and Supervise.  
  • “Rah.” or “Rah!” or “Rah?” Short for “Oorah,” a Marine greeting or expression of enthusiasm.
  • Other things to know: Marines are often meticulous dressers, perhaps a holdover from being judged on the perfection of their uniforms. Expect shirts to be starched, perfectly pressed, and shoes polished to a mirror-quality shine. No lint on trousers, thank you.
  • The Marine Corps was born in Tun Tavern on November 10, 1775, a bar in Philadelphia. It served very good beer.

Beth Solomon, Tony Dias of Jones Day, and Brian Smith (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Beth Solomon, Tony Dias of Jones Day, and Brian Smith
How can one understand all this?

“There are only two kinds of people who understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion,” Gen. William Thornson of the U.S. Army is reported to have said.

Kelly and Mattis, along with Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, currently chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, served together in the 2003 Iraq invasion, an experience that drew them close and helped shaped their views as they rose to top military positions.

Maranda Smith, Kim VanWyhe, and an unidentified party guest (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Maranda Smith, Kim VanWyhe, and an unidentified party guest
Anglicotech CEO Cooper also served in combat in Iraq in 2003. In total, he served for over 12 years on active duty in the Marine Corps as an infantry officer, as well as four years in the reserve.    

And Trump is not alone in his preference for Marines to serve in civilian and business leadership roles.

Ed Schiff, Dave Cooper, Pete Petrihos, Randy Delarm (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Ed Schiff, Dave Cooper, Pete Petrihos, Randy Delarm
Consider: FedEx CEO Fred Smith, PBS NewsHour commentator Mark Shields, former Mail Boxes, Etc. CEO and current President and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis Jim Amos, Don Imus, James Carville, Montel Williams, Jim Lehrer, Sandy Alderson (general manager of the New York Mets), Harvey Keitel, Gene Hackman, and former Virginia Senators Jim Webb (D), John Warner (R) and Chuck Robb (D).

All were Marines.

Philip Shin, a front desk agent at the Trump International Hotel, takes care of guests, even as they exit (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Philip Shin, a front desk agent at the Trump International Hotel, takes care of guests, even as they exit
These leaders also are known to leave no one behind.  Cooper asked The Georgetown Dish to mention Anglicotech team members Bernadette Cullen, Zach Godfrey, and Joe Benson.  

“'Bern' was our first employee,” Cooper added.

Needless to say, when the hotel's Director of Food & Beverage  Daniel Mahdavian used a saber, Napoleon style, to open the first bottle of champagne at the reception, no one blinked.

 

 

 

The beautiful Trump International Hotel lobby in the Old Post Office (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) The beautiful Trump International Hotel lobby in the Old Post Office

 

 


Click here to share your thoughts.