Chief White House Economist Kevin Hassett Resigns

Unfortunately for everybody who didn't "sell in May", stocks are on track to pick up where they left off in June, with the main indexes set to open lower on Monday.

And while signs of intensifying trade tensions have widely been blamed for the weakness overnight, the announcement late Sunday that the Trump administration will soon be losing one of the market's favorite purveyors of economic optimism certainly isn't helping.


Kevin Hassett

In a tweet Sunday night, President Trump revealed that Hassett would be leaving his post "shortly", before praising Hassett, the head of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, as "very talented."

Hassett has served as the White House's chief economist since September 2017. A longtime "movement" conservative, Hassett helped shape the 2017 Republican tax law and - despite being a staunch free trader and immigration moderate - distinguished himself as a staunch defender of the president’s policies. Most memorably, he repeatedly appeared in interviews defending the administration's position that, thanks to the Trump tax cuts, sustained 3% growth would be possible.

However, his tenure was not entirely free of the whiff of controversy. Following the NYT's publication of the "Trump resistance" op-ed back in September, the Washington Post named Hassett as a suspect for the authorship of the now infamous "internal resistance" op-ed purportedly published by a Trump Administration insider. At the time, he vociferously denied having any role in the editorial's publication.

Hassett told the Washington Post that his departure was unrelated to the trade conflict, and that he had told the president about his plans to leave last week. He plans to stay in the role for another month or so while the administration interviews potential replacements. The economist didn't comment on the search for his replacement, but did say the Council of Economic Advisors was "chuck full" of good advisors.

Whomever Trump picks to replace Hassett, investors will be hoping that he or she possesses the same gift for jawboning the markets. Because if not, how will we ever make it back to the ATHs?