President Trump told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Thursday that while Federal Reserve policies have impeded economic growth, the nation’s financial status continues to outpace its global counterparts.
“The world is slowing, but we’re not slowing,” Trump said during an exclusive interview on “Mornings with Maria.” “And frankly, if we didn't have somebody that would raise interest rates and do quantitative tightening, we would have been at over 4 [percent] instead of at 3.1 [percent].”
The president has been a harsh critic of the U.S. central bank for being too aggressive on interest rate hikes.
On Wednesday, during its second monetary policy meeting of the year, the Fed voted to hold the benchmark federal funds rate steady. The Federal Open Market Committee unanimously agreed to keep interest rates unchanged at a target range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent.
The policy setting board also signaled it won’t see any future rate hikes this year, a move Trump denies may have been influenced by his outspoken criticism of the Fed.
“I hope I didn't influence, frankly, but it doesn't matter. I don't care if I influenced or not,” he said. “One thing, I was right. But we would be over four [percent] if they didn't do all of the interest rate hikes, and they tightened. They did $50 billion a month. I said, ‘What are we doing here?’”
The Trump administration’s policies on tax cuts, deregulation, and trade reform have generated a booming economy, according to the White House. More than 5.3 million jobs have been created since Trump’s election.
The ongoing trade war between China and the U.S. has taken its toll on both economies. Top U.S. trade and economic officials are headed to Beijing this weekend for another round of negotiations. Trump has imposed U.S. tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese exports and warns that tariffs are going to stay in place for “a substantial period of time.”
However, the president said keeping tariffs in place won’t be a snag on the current trade negotiations with China.
“I think a lot of people are waiting for the deal with China. I think that’s going to have a very bit impact, maybe bigger than people know,” Trump said. “As to whether or not it makes it, I think it will. I think we’re getting very close. That doesn’t mean we get there, but I think we’re getting very close.”
The U.S. Commerce Department is looking at imported cars and auto parts to determine whether they pose a national security risk.
“Well, no,” Trump said when asked if foreign-made cars and auto parts pose a national security threat. “What poses a national security risk is our balance sheet. We have to have -- we need a strong balance sheet. Otherwise you don’t have national security.”
Trump also noted that the European Union has treated America as badly as China, costing the U.S. $150 billion a year over the course of the last five to seven years.
“They don’t take our product. They tax us tremendously. They tariff us tremendously. Almost every country has taken advantage of the United States -- and we’re straightening it out,” he said.