• Kudlow, who declined to call out any companies by name, says he wanted to express his skepticism because CEOs “love to blame other factors.”
  • “There are a lot of CEOs who come here and I visit with who are very positive and optimistic about the economy,” he says.

Some American companies could be using China’s retaliatory trade tariffs as an excuse for their own poor quarterly performances, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told CNBC on Friday.

Kudlow, who declined to call out any companies by name, said he wanted to express his skepticism because CEOs “love to blame other factors outside to perhaps cover their own execution.”

A number of industrial companies in recent days, including paint and coating maker PPG and supply distributor Fastenal, have expressed concern about the U.S.-China trade war damaging their businesses.

Last month, Ford, the nation’s second-largest automaker, said it suffered $1 billion in lost profits from tariffs on metals imported to the United States.

“There are a lot of CEOs who come here and I visit with who are very positive and optimistic about the economy,” Kudlow said on “Fast Money Halftime Report.” “So I guess we could count up CEOs.”

J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon is an optimist, Kudlow said. “He was in my office a few days ago.” Apple CEO Tim Cook is an optimist, Kudlow added “[Cook] is in touch with us constantly. I could go through a long litany.”

While recognizing “the economy is still very strong,” Dimon on on Friday raised concerns that higher interest rates and geopolitical flareups could hurt U.S. growth.

The U.S. and China are locked in a trade war that’s seen each side imposing tariffs on each other’s products. Most recently, the U.S. levied duties on $200 billion worth of goods from China, prompting Beijing to put tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods.

Before joining the Trump administration as director of the National Economic Council, Kudlow was a CNBC contributor and formerly a Wall Street economist. He also served in the Ronald Reagan White House.

 

Source: CNBC