White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow attempted to spin President Trump’s remarks Sunday morning in which he expressed regret over his escalating trade war with China, claiming that the president didn’t “hear the question” when asked if he had second thoughts.
During a breakfast meeting with British prime minister Boris Johnson at the G7 on Sunday morning, Trump told reporters that he had “second thoughts about everything” when asked if he had second thoughts on ordering American companies to no longer do business with China.
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union later in the morning, Kudlow was immediately confronted with Trump’s comments by guest host Brianna Keilar. The Trump adviser, however, insisted that the president was being misinterpreted.
“Well, look, if I can reinterpret that,” Kudlow noted, “I mean, he spoke to us, he didn’t exactly hear the question. Actually, what he was intending to say, he always has second thoughts and actually had second thoughts about possibly a higher tariff response to China.”
He added: “So it was not to remove the tariff. He was thinking about a higher tariff response. Having said that, we’re staying with the policy that was announced on Friday, I believe, a five percent increase on the two tariffs.”
Looking for clarification, Keilar asked Kudlow if Trump was saying that he may want to further increase tariffs on China, but wasnt currently going to do so. Kudlow agreed that was the case.
“That is absolutely correct,” he stated. “That was his thought, it somehow got misinterpreted. I’m not sure he heard the question altogether. It was a very crowded room.”
Kudlow’s attempts at clarifying Trump’s “second thoughts” remarks came on the heels of White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham’s own spin.
“The President was asked if he had ‘any second thought on escalating the trade war with China.’ His answer has been greatly misinterpreted,” she said in a statement. “President Trump responded in the affirmative—because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.”
Elsewhere in the CNN interview, Kudlow clashed with Keilar, repeatedly insisting that she was taking Johnson out of context when he said at the G7 that he does not like tariffs as a whole.
“Larry, what’s out of context?” Keilar pushed back at one point. “We just rolled video. What is out of context with that quote?”
Kudlow said he was in the meeting with Johnson and that it “all depends on context,” prompting the CNN host to point out that the British prime minister’s comments came directly from that meeting.