Trump: Fed chairman ‘almost looks like he’s happy raising interest rates’

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President Trump ratcheted up his criticism of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday, saying Powell enjoys raising interest rates and is endangering economic growth.

“Every time we do something great, he raises the interest rates,” Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview, adding that Powell “almost looks like he’s happy raising interest rates.” 

The president did not elaborate about Powell, saying it was “too early to tell, but maybe” when asked if he regretted nominating him to chair the independent central bank.{mosads}

Trump has repeatedly criticized the Fed since July for raising interest rates as unemployment has neared record lows and economic growth accelerates in part due to the 2017 tax cuts.

The president called the Fed his “biggest threat” during an interview last week and suggested that he may have made a mistake appointing Powell.

The Fed has raised its benchmark interest rate three times so far this year. Most recently, the agency in September bumped the benchmark rate from 2 to 2.25 percent. 

Trump has blasted the Fed — and particularly Powell — for the rate increases, which he has said threaten the current bullish economy.

“To me the Fed is the biggest risk, because I think interest rates are being raised too quickly,” Trump told the Journal on Tuesday.

“How the hell do you compete with that?” Trump said of the rate increases. “And Obama — remember this, it’s very important — Obama had zero interest [while in office].”

Trump did not say under what circumstances he would remove Powell, despite his possible regrets. 

“I don’t know,” he told the newspaper. “I’m just saying this: I’m very unhappy with the Fed because Obama had zero interest rates.”

It is unclear if Trump could dismiss Powell if he were inclined, the Journal said, noting that presidents can only remove Fed governors “for cause.”

The Fed chairman serves a 4-year term at the same time that he serves a 14-year term on the Fed’s board of governors. 

Some have gone after the president for his comments on the Fed’s performance. 

Janet Yellen, the Fed chair appointed by former President Obama, has said Trump’s criticisms are “essentially damaging to the Fed and to financial stability.”

Others have said the president is just expressing his opinion.

Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow has said that the president is raising something “a lot of people are discussing.”

“There’s nothing wrong with him weighing in,” Kudlow said earlier this month on “Fox News Sunday.” 

Tags Donald Trump Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell Interest rates Janet Yellen President Trump

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