Economist Kevin Hassett returns to White House to advise Trump amid coronavirus

Economist Kevin Hassett returns to White House to advise Trump amid coronavirus
© Greg Nash

Economist Kevin Hassett is returning to the White House temporarily as an adviser to President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeSantis on Florida schools reopening: 'If you can do Walmart,' then 'we absolutely can do schools' NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with help from federal government's 'checkbook' Mueller pens WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone 'remains a convicted felon, and rightly so' MORE on economic policy, a White House official confirmed Friday.

Hassett, who served as Trump’s chief economist for about two years at the beginning of his administration, will assume the advisory role as the United States grapples with the economic fallout of the coronavirus. CNN was first to report Friday that Hassett would return to the White House.

A spokeswoman for the White House Council of Economic Advisers told The Hill that Hassett would serve temporarily as an adviser on economic policy in his personal capacity and that he would not be a government employee.

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In recent media appearances, Hassett has warned of steep job losses that could result from the coronavirus outbreak. Hassett told CNN on Thursday that the pandemic could prompt another “Great Depression” unless the U.S. takes action to ensure Americans can get back to work even if the outbreak continues for several months

“You really can’t shut down the global economy for six months and expect anything to continue,” Hassett told CNN on Thursday.

Trump first tapped Hassett to serve as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers in April 2017, and he left the position in June 2019.

Hassett is a widely-respected conservative economist who was a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute prior to his stint in the Trump administration.

Hassett was confirmed by the Senate for his original White House role in a 81-16 vote, winning support from some Democrats. 

His return is a sign of an effort by the White House to bolster its economic team as the administration looks to reduce the impact of the coronavirus. The pandemic has rattled global markets and forced businesses across the country to close, causing companies to lay off employees.

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Earlier this week, Trump announced that Joseph Lavorgna, former chief economist for the Americas for Natixis, would join the White House National Economic Council to work closely with Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE, its director. Among his roles, Lavorgna will be responsible for studying the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on the economy, according to the White House.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is currently negotiating with Congress on a $1 trillion economic stimulus package aimed at helping American workers and companies feeling the adverse effects of the pandemic. 

-- Updated at 10:50 a.m.