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Trump advisor Kevin Hassett explains the most surprising thing about working with the president

Key Points
  • White House advisor Kevin Hassett says he was surprised to learn how much he enjoyed spending time around President Donald Trump.
  • The economist says Trump has a good understanding of tax issues.
  • Hassett said he believes the GOP tax plan may be able to pay for itself over time.

When economist Kevin Hassett joined the Donald Trump'sadministration, he was most surprised to realize how much he enjoyed spending time around the president.

"He's a very fun person to be in the room with — he likes to explore ideas with lots of rapid fire questions. He has intuition," the Council of Economic Advisors chairman told CNBC on Tuesday at the Net/Net event in Washington.

"I think that if you think about the stuff that we've been working on since I've been there, which is tax reform, then that's really sort of right up his alley … He totally understands all that stuff," Hassett added.

Hassett, 55, a conservative economist, took the White House economic analysis role earlier this year. He previously worked at the American Enterprise Institute.

Hassett has guided White House analysis of the GOP tax-reform effort, including an early analysis that estimates average U.S. household income would rise by at least $4,000 a year under the proposal. He has generally given a more optimistic outlook about the possible growth and deficit effects of the plan than independent groups.

On Tuesday, he said the GOP tax cuts could potentially pay for themselves over time.

The congressional scorekeeper Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated that a version of the bill passed by the Senate will lead to $1 trillion more in budget deficits over a decade, even after economic growth is taken into account, but Hassett criticized the JCT model.

As working with Trump goes, Hassett said he has appreciated some of the tweets the president has sent. He highlighted a tweet in which Trump cited a CEA estimate of what third-quarter gross domestic product would have been excluding hurricane damage.