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 TrumpThorny part of obstruction of justice is proving intent, that's a job for Congress Obama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity' Schiff rips Conway's 'display of alternative facts' on Russian election interference 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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: House Dem says marijuana banking bill will get vote in spring | Buttigieg joins striking Stop & Shop workers | US home construction slips in March | Uber gets B investment for self-driving cars Former Sears holding company sues ex-CEO, Mnuchin and others over 'asset stripping' On The Money: Inside the Mueller report | Cain undeterred in push for Fed seat | Analysis finds modest boost to economy from new NAFTA | White House says deal will give auto sector B boost 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.