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The American Enterprise Institute and the Trump White House

By Laurie Bennett

April 10, 2017 at 8:09am

The American Enterprise Institute has situated itself at the highest levels of the Trump administration.

Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is a former trustee of the conservative think tank and her family has generously supported the organization over the years. The Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation contributed $1.75 million in 2015, according to the most recent tax returns.

Adam Lerrick, nominee for deputy treasury secretary, is a scholar at AEI, as is Kevin A. Hassett, Trump’s pick to chair the Council of Economic Advisers. Scott Gottlieb, the nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration, is a fellow of the institute.

AEI and Trump are not in complete lockstep. Among the recent headlines on the think tank’s web site have is “Donald Trump’s failing presidency,”, which reads more like a warning than a verdict.

Overall, the AEI commitment to capitalism and limited government seems to be in sync with the aims of a White House still determining its agenda.

Not surprisingly, the organization has responded with enthusiasm when Trump picks one of its own. “Kevin Hassett is a great pick for CEA chair,” AEI scholar Michael Strain wrote last week.

Said AEI President Arthur Brooks: “The country is lucky that he will be on hand to help influence public policy toward free enterprise, yielding greater prosperity and more opportunity for all Americans.”

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