IMF chief: ‘Not sure’ Pompeo understands IMF mission

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde this week defended the body from a suggestion by secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump, Dem leaders fight before cameras over border wall | GOP skeptical of having military build wall | US spars with Russia, Venezuela over bomber deployment Russia, Venezuela lash out after US criticisms of bomber deployment Our deep divide over nuclear disarmament MORE that it had strayed from its original mission.

"I'm not sure that he understands very clearly what is -- our mission is prosperity," Lagarde said Tuesday at the the Kissinger Lecture in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress. "And this is what the initial founders actually tasked us to do, and that’s what we need to do."

“We're not the merchant of austerity, we are a merchant of trust in the stability of a system that is needed in order to attract investors, generate growth and entail creation of jobs. We are the enablers of that,” she added.

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Lagarde was responding to comments Pompeo made in Brussels in reference to the IMF and the World Bank.

“The Trump Administration is working to refocus these institutions on policies that promote economic prosperity, pushing to halt lending to nations that can already access global capital markets — countries like China — and pressing to reduce taxpayer handouts to development banks that are perfectly capable of raising private capital on their own,” Pompeo said, referring to the World Bank and the IMF. 

Lagarde added Tuesday that "we've actually always paid back, and more."

"Over a period of time, the United States has actually made quite a bit of money out of the IMF involvement in countries," she said.

The IMF and the Trump administration have been at odds in the past, with the IMF coming out against the GOP tax plan, which Trump signed into law last December, claiming that the proposal would not expand the economy as much as Republican leaders hoped.

IMF officials also clashed with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump says he's considering 10 to 12 contenders for chief of staff Schiff writes mock White House chief of staff job description Trump: 'No rush' to pick next chief of staff MORE last year. Mulvaney accused the organization of having a vested interest in Trump's economic plan failing after the body adjusted a forecast of U.S. economic growth down from 2.3 percent to 2.1 percent.

“There are folks that are invested in seeing this fail because if it works then what is their argument for re-regulating?” he told the Financial Times last year. 

 

-Updated 9 p.m.