President Trump may have hand-picked Jerome Powell to take over as chair of the Federal Reserve less than one year ago, but in the months since then, he’s repeatedly attacked – a largely unprecedented move – the head of the nation’s central bank, saying he’s curtailing economic growth.
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In January, when the Senate confirmed Powell, a member of the Fed’s board of governors, to replace Janet Yellen as chair, he signaled that he would mostly support current Fed policies, including gradual increases to interest rates.
So far this year, policymakers have voted to hike the benchmark federal funds rate three times, increasingly drawing the ire of Trump, who’s warned that if interest rates are too high, it could derail economic growth. The Fed is expected to raise the rate again in December, bringing the yearly total to four.
Here’s a look back at some of Trump’s most scathing comments about the Fed and Powell (who has not publicly responded).
In a Christmas Eve tweet, President Trump went on the offensive against the Federal Reserve – again – saying the central bank is the only problem the economy has as markets continued to sink in one of the worst Decembers since the Great Depression in 1931.
“The only problem our economy has is the Fed. They don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders. The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch - he can’t putt!”
Trump kept up his criticisms with Powell on Tuesday in an interview with The Washington Post, saying rising interest rates have hurt the economy. "So far, I’m not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay," Trump said. ”Not even a little bit. And I’m not blaming anybody, but I’m just telling you I think that the Fed is way off-base with what they’re doing."
While discussing an increasingly bitter trade war with China during an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump segued into lambasting Powell and the Fed, which he’s concerned will cripple economic growth.
“I think the Fed right now is a much bigger problem than China,” he said.
Once again, the president escalated his attacks during an interview with The Wall Street Journal. He acknowledged the Fed has enjoyed independence in its decision-making process, but also hinted that he regretted nominating Powell.
“Every time we do something great, he raises the interest rates,” Trump said, adding that it seemed as though Powell “almost looks like he’s happy raising interest rates.”
During a FOX Business interview, Trump slammed the Fed again for raising interest rates too quickly.
“My biggest threat is the Fed,” he complained. “Because the Fed is raising rates too fast, and it’s too independent.”
While at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, the president blamed the Fed for driving a market sell-off that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummet more than 800 points.
“I think the Fed is making a mistake. They’re so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy,” he told the reporters, adding, “I really disagree with what the Fed is doing, okay?"
When the Fed hiked interest rates for the third time this year, Trump said he was “not happy” about that, according to Bloomberg.
“We are doing great as a country,” Trump said at a press conference in New York. “Unfortunately they just raised interest rates a little bit because we are doing so well. I am not happy about that.”
Trump took to Twitter to voice his concerns about the Fed.
“China, the European Union and others have been manipulating their currencies and interest rates lower, while the U.S. is raising rates while the dollars gets stronger and stronger with each passing day - taking away our big competitive edge. As usual, not a level playing field…” he wrote.
In his first public, critical remarks about the Fed, Trump said he was “not thrilled” about interest rate hikes.
“I’m not thrilled,” he told CNBC. “Because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again. I don’t really — I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best.”