Trump argues economy has been stifled by rising interest rates

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE early Tuesday took a swipe at the Federal Reserve, arguing the economy's performance has been held back by the central bank's decision to raise interest rates.

The president touted the economy's "REALLY good" numbers in a tweet, adding, "Can you imagine if I had long term ZERO interest rates to play with like the past administration, rather than the rapidly raised normalized rates we have today."

"That would have been SO EASY!" Trump tweeted. "Still, markets up BIG since 2016 Election!"

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Trump has repeatedly targeted the Fed and its chairman, Jerome Powell, for criticism over gradually increasing interest rates. The Fed issued four rate hikes this year, prompting outcry from a president who has tied the economy's performance to his administration's. Trump often touts low unemployment numbers and the stock market performance, though the market suffered overall losses in 2018.

The Fed's policymaking arm voted in December to raise the baseline interest rate range to 2.25 to 2.5 percent. Powell signaled at the time that 2019 would likely see two rate hikes, down from an estimated three in an earlier forecast in September.

The Fed under Powell has brought interest rates up toward historically neutral levels as the economy enjoys near-record low unemployment, rising wages and strong GDP growth. Rates were lower under the Obama administration, which sought to lead an economic recovery from a recession.

Trump has regularly questioned the decision to raise rates, and suggested he regrets tapping Powell to lead the Fed board. The president has reportedly discussed whether to fire Powell, raising concerns among lawmakers and economists about the central bank's independence from the presidency.

Powell said in December that “political considerations play no role whatsoever in our discussions or decisions about monetary policy.”