Kevin Hassett wasn’t always a Trump supporter. Before his surprising appointment as the top White House economist, he took a dim view of the populist agenda and mercurial temperament of the man who had won control of the Republican Party. But experience would soon change his mind.
As chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, Hassett helped Donald Trump bring about a golden age of prosperity, in which Americans who had been left behind by decades of failed policy were given the opportunity to succeed. The miracle lasted three years, until a virus from China killed it.
Trump proved that a mix of free-market principles and enlightened nationalism could revive the American economic dynamo. Guided by an unlikely team of brilliant advisers and driven by his own force of will, he recognized that Washington bureaucrats had undermined the American dream by inserting themselves into every aspect of the economy. These “experts” were leading us down the path to socialism, and Trump fought like mad to turn things around.
Enjoying not only direct access to the president but also his trust and respect, Hassett was involved in almost every important policy debate. After two exhausting but successful years, he stepped down from the CEA and returned to private life—only to return as a special adviser on pandemic policy in 2020.
The Drift offers a unique perspective on a pivotal presidency. Unconnected and unbeholden to Donald Trump, Kevin Hassett came to the administration with a critical eye. But working with Trump the president convinced him that this flawed leader might be the only man who could halt the drift toward a statist and moribund economy. Filled with urgent lessons, this book is essential reading as the drift resumes.
“Now that the bloom is off the rose of Joe Biden’s presidency, it’s a good time to look back on his predecessor’s four turbulent years in office. Kevin Hassett has written a characteristically affable and fair memoir of his time running Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers and otherwise assisting the 45th President with his economic policy. A free trader on Tariff Man’s team, Hassett nevertheless shared Trump’s ambition to revitalize the American economy through deregulation and tax cuts. It is easy to forget just how well that was going when Covid-19 struck. If Hassett is right about America’s secular leftward “Drift,” then the irony may be that Trump inadvertently ended up accelerating rather than reversing it. Should he ever return to power, readers of this smart, disarming book will fervently hope to see its author as Treasury secretary.” —Niall Ferguson, Milbank Family Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institution
About the Author
Kevin Hassett is a world-renowned economist who served as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors and Senior Advisor to the President for Economic Issues during the Trump administration. A graduate of Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania, he is married to his wife Kristie and is the father of two children.