President Donald Trump's approach to trade sounds like a recipe to send the U.S. into a recession, Austan Goolsbee, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during Barack Obama's presidency, told CNBC on Thursday.
"My impression is the Trump administration is in imminent danger of violating the gunfighter's credo, which is: Do not pick seven fights if you are carrying a six shooter," Goolsbee told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday.
"We're going to declare simultaneous trade wars on four of our six biggest trading partners. That doesn't make sense to me. That seems like a recipe to send the U.S. into recession," said Goolsbee, who is currently a professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Of all of Trump's policy proposals, the trade issues worry economists the most, Goolsbee said.
"We've gone through rounds of tax cutting and rounds of tax increases in modern U.S. history," he noted. "We haven't really had a big igniting of a trade war belligerence since the Depression era and that's not an era that we want to repeat."
Goolsbee also pointed to the Trump administration's accusations that other countries, including China, Germany and Japan, might be manipulating their currencies to the detriment of the U.S.
But Trump's position appeared counter to the current economic milieu, with the U.S. Federal Reserve "itching" to raise interest rates even if they didn't act on Wednesday, he noted.