Top White House economist: Fed chair's job '100 percent' safe

Top White House economist Kevin Hassett on Wednesday said Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is not in danger of losing his job amid reports President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE is considering ousting him.

“Yes, of course, 100 percent,” Hassett said when asked by reporters at the White House whether Powell’s job is safe.


Trump has raised the possibility of firing Powell for raising interest rates, according to multiple media reports, which the president blames for the stock market’s recent plunge.

The president on Christmas Day once again criticized Powell’s interest rate hikes but was noncommittal about whether he has confidence in the Fed chairman.

“Well, we’ll see. They are raising interest rates too fast, that’s my opinion,” he said.

Hassett was also optimistic about the economy, amid worries triggered by Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Trump appeals to Supreme Court to keep tax returns from NY prosecutors | Pelosi says deal on new NAFTA 'imminent' | Mnuchin downplays shutdown threat | Trump hits Fed after Walmart boasts strong earnings Lawmakers aim for agreement on top-line spending by next week Mnuchin: White House has no intention for a shutdown MORE's unusual statement last weekend that banks have enough capital to loan. 

“All the anecdotal information we're getting is that the fundamentals remain extremely sound,” he said. “Christmas sales are through the roof. [Gross domestic product] in the fourth quarter is looking like it's going to be very close to, if not above [3 percent] again. And so I think that the momentum that we saw this year is carrying forward to next year.”

White House officials have in the past made guarantees about personnel decisions that later turned out to be incorrect.

Earlier this year, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied reports Trump would remove H.R. McMaster one week before he was ousted.

— Updated 11:37 a.m.