Trump after Mnuchin controversy: ‘I want to see a strong dollar’
President Trump on Thursday said he prefers a strong U.S. dollar and said comments by his Treasury secretary praising a weak dollar were taken out of context.
Trump told CNBC that he wants the value of the dollar to increase and expects it to do so as the economy continues to grow.
“The dollar is going to get stronger and stronger, and ultimately I want to see a strong dollar,” Trump said during a CNBC interview in Davos, Switzerland.
The value of the dollar hit a three-year low Wednesday after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said “obviously a weaker dollar is good for us as it relates to trade and opportunities.”
“Longer-term, the strength of the dollar is a reflection of the strength of the U.S. economy and the fact that it is and will continue to be the primary currency in terms of the reserve currency,” Mnuchin continued.
Mnuchin’s remarks were a break in precedent, since most previous Treasury secretaries have touted a strong dollar. His statement stunned economists and investors who feared retaliatory action from U.S. trading partners.
Mnuchin defended his comments Thursday, insisting “it was actually balanced and consistent with what I’ve said before, which is, we are not concerned with where the dollar is in the short term.”
While a weaker U.S. dollar makes the country’s exports cheaper and more attractive to international buyers, it reduces the purchasing power of Americans.
Trump has previously said he prefers a weak dollar for its benefits to trade, telling The Wall Street Journal in April he feared the dollar was “getting too strong.”
Trump on Thursday said he doesn’t think anyone should make commentary on the value of the dollar.
“I don’t like talking about it because, frankly, no one should be talking about it. It should be what it is. It should also be based on the strength of the country.”