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Larry Kudlow is a leading contender to replace Gary Cohn

Gary Cohn, President Trump's top economic adviser, steps from Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Aug. 30, 2017.

Reuters

Economist and TV personality Larry Kudlow is a leading contender to replace Gary Cohn as the head of the National Economic Council, CBS News' Major Garrett reports.

Kudlow, a regular guest on CNBC, is close to President Trump and a veteran of the Reagan administration. He is known for his stalwart defense of Mr. Trump and conservative economic policies, such as low taxes and reduced spending.

Cohn announced he was leaving the White House last week amid his objections to Mr. Trump's plans to place tariffs on steel and aluminum. He had been a senior official at Goldman Sachs, a leading investment bank.

Kudlow recently praised Cohn on CNBC and said that he had urged him to remain at the White House.  "I have to tell you, personally, I am urging Gary Cohn to stay and fight for another day. He's done a great job," Kudlow said on the network's "Squawk Box" earlier this month.

A committed believer in free trade, Kudlow, like Cohn, is critical of tariffs. In the same interview where he defended Cohn, Kudlow called Mr. Trump's tariffs "prosperity killers."

"Tariffs damage the user of the commodity, in this case, steel," Kudlow said. "It's a tax."

However, in an interview that aired on Sunday, Kudlow predicted that in addition to Canada, Mexico and Australia, other countries would also secure exemptions from the tariffs.

"Canada is exempt. Mexico is exempt. Australia is exempt. I guarantee you, all of Europe is going to wind up being exempt," he told John Catsimatidis on AM 970. "And I bet you our allies in Asia will wind up being exempt. China may be the only one."