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Top economic adviser Hassett to leave White House after volunteer stint

By Jean Lotus
Top economic adviser Hassett to leave White House after volunteer stint
Senior adviser Kevin Hassett will leave the White House after a brief volunteer stint to help the Trump administration deal with the economic disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic. File photo by Stefani Reynolds/UPI | License Photo

June 22 (UPI) -- Kevin Hassett, one of the White House's top economic advisers, is leaving after a return volunteer engagement that helped the Trump administration interpret unprecedented economic turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hassett will depart this summer, White House officials told Axios, leaving the Trump administration without his expertise during the run-up to the November election.

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Hassett served on President Donald Trump's first Council of Economic Advisors and stepped down, only to return as a volunteer in March for 90 days as the economic ramifications of the pandemic became evident. That time window has now elapsed.

Hassett has been an ally for Trump on cable television shows and has helped push the administration to support a Phase 4 economic stimulus bill, including expanding unemployment insurance and more direct payments to taxpayers.

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Hassett warned in May that U.S. unemployment could hit 23 percent without more government stimulus, and could still remain in the "double digits" in November.

Hassett joins other top White House staffers who have stepped down in the past months, including the president's special assistant for economic policy, Indiana insurance executive Andrew Olmen; as well as Eric Ueland, director of legislative affairs; and Joe Grogan, the White House's Domestic Policy Council's director.

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Pentagon former undersecretary of defense James Miller also stepped down June 3 in protest over Trump's use of security during a photoshoot at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington D.C.'s, Lafayette Square.

RELATED Concerns mount that dollar will weaken further as U.S. COVID-19 cases spike

Hassett will return to a post as a distinguished visiting fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, Axios reported.

"It's always distressing when a high-ranking economic adviser leaves in the middle of an economic catastrophe," Ernie Tedeschi, a former Treasury economist in the Obama administration told the Washington Post. "They clearly brought him in again because they wanted more economic expertise -- and we are not past the point where we need economic expertise."

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