Amid Trade Chaos, Shakeups On The National Economic Council

BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP

As an experienced top aide quits the National Economic Council, NEC Director Larry Kudlow scrambles to fill the many vacancies on the critical advisory forum.

As first reported Tuesday by the Financial Times, Everett Eissenstat, a seasoned international affairs specialist sitting on both the NEC and the National Security Council, plans to leave the administration in July.

Eissenstat is reportedly leaving to spend more time with his family.

“Everett was a consummate professional and a valued member of the White House staff,” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told the Financial Times in a statement. “We will miss his deep expertise, commitment to duty, and skillful management of the National Economic and National Security Council’s international team.”

The loss of expertise is seen as a blow to an administration already struggling to pull talent in a range of policy areas.

Per CNBC, even before Eissenstat’s announcement, a quarter of the 24 seats on the esteemed council were vacant, including the senior advisers on infrastructure and agriculture.

Kudlow, back at work two weeks after suffering a heart attack, has been vetting and interviewing candidates to fill the slots.

He is reportedly considering Dan Clifton, head of policy research at Strategas Research Partners, and his good friend economist Stephen Moore.

“It is important especially to have a fully staffed NEC because of its policy coordination role,” James Pethokoukis, policy analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, told CNBC. “With financial markets so highly tuned to what the White House is saying on trade, making sure the NEC is functioning smoothly is paramount.”

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