Second economist to leave White House

Tomas Philipson, a top economic adviser to President Trump, plans to leave the White House at the end of June, making him the second White House economist with plans to depart this summer.  

Philipson will leave his position as acting chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) at the end of the month and “will be returning to his tenured role at the University of Chicago in the fall,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in an emailed statement. The development was first reported by The Washington Post.

News broke earlier this week that economist Kevin Hassett, who returned to the White House temporarily in March as an adviser to Trump during the coronavirus pandemic, planned to leave his advisory role this summer. Deere also confirmed Hassett’s expected departure.

“I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve on your Council of Economic Advisers for nearly three years,” Philipson wrote to Trump in a June 23 letter announcing his departure that was posted to his Twitter account on Wednesday.

“It was the honor of a lifetime to work for a President who prioritizes pro-growth and market-based reforms that uplift all Americans. When the American people are free to work, invest, and create jobs without excessive government restraints, there is no limit to what they can achieve,” he wrote. 

Philipson has served on the CEA for three years and was tapped by Trump to serve as its acting chairman in July 2019. Hassett had served as the chair of the council before him.

The two top officials will leave the White House as the administration grapples with the economic crisis set off by the coronavirus pandemic. Hassett has been a key public face of the administration’s economic policy efforts, often appearing on television and taking questions from reporters in the White House driveway regarding the administration’s plans.

Trump has been optimistic about the road to economic recovery amid the pandemic, boosted by a surprise jobs report that showed the U.S. adding jobs during the month of May. Trump touted the job gains as perhaps the “greatest comeback in American history” during a Rose Garden press conference earlier this month.

Millions of Americans remain out of work, and the coronavirus shutdowns have forced thousands of small businesses to close their doors. Economists warn that the road to a full economic recovery will be long and arduous.

The White House is currently holding informal discussions with Congress on another stimulus package meant to aid the economy following the $2 trillion stimulus signed into law at the end of March. However, formal discussions are not expected to begin until July. 

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump economy Kevin Hassett Tom Philipson

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