El-Erian: Trump is diverting attention from his pro-growth agenda

  • President Donald Trump once again lost an opportunity to push forward his pro-growth agenda when he made more controversial remarks on Tuesday about the weekend's deadly white nationalist rally, Mohammed El-Erian told CNBC.
  • The hope was that infrastructure would be a catalyst to move the agenda forward, but now that is not the case, he said.

President Donald Trump once again lost an opportunity to push forward his pro-growth agenda when he made more controversial remarks on Tuesday about the weekend's deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, noted economist Mohammed El-Erian told CNBC.

During a chaotic press conference that he began by talking about infrastructure, Trump again blamed all sides for the violence. He defended the protest and contended that some of the individuals carrying torches did not have bad intentions.

"All that is diverting away from what the objective of this announcement was ... to focus on infrastructure, something that has a lot of support across the country, and jobs and wages," El-Erian, the chief economic advisor to Allianz, said in an interview with "Closing Bell" on Tuesday.

In fact, there was hope that the infrastructure announcement could have provided the catalyst to finally move Trump's agenda forward, he noted.

"That's not going to be the case. This will not be a catalyst. This is simply going to amplify other discussions that are not pro-growth discussions."

What's more, Trump and Republicans already have a set of identified pro-growth measures.

"This is not an engineering problem. This is an implementation problem," El-Erian said. "The quicker we pivot to that the better it is for the economy, the better it is for markets. The pivot is absolutely critical."

— CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.