Trump dines with Fed chief Powell after months of tension

Trump dines with Fed chief Powell after months of tension
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE hosted Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for an "informal dinner" at the White House on Monday night, according to a statement from the central bank.

Trump dined with Powell, Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinGOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Overnight Defense: Iran tensions swirl as officials prepare to brief Congress | Trump threatens war would be 'end of Iran' | Graham tells Trump to 'stand firm' | Budget talks begin This week: Democrats, White House set for infrastructure, budget talks MORE in the White House residence Monday night, according to the Fed, where the four discussed "recent economic developments and the outlook for growth, employment and inflation."

ADVERTISEMENT

While the central bank is an independent agency, it is historically common for presidents and Fed chairmen to meet throughout their terms.

Trump has criticized Powell, a Republican, since July of last year as the Fed has gradually raised interest rates. The president publicly griped that the Fed had gone "crazy" and reportedly considered trying to fire Powell, whom he appointed to lead the bank in 2017.

Powell has rebuffed questions about Trump's public pressure and insisted that the Fed would not consider politics in its decisions on interest rates. He said in January that he would not leave the Fed if Trump tried to dismiss him, but would be happy to meet with him. 

The Fed said Monday that Powell "did not discuss his expectations for monetary policy, except to stress that the path of policy will depend entirely on incoming economic information and what that means for the outlook."

"Chair Powell said that he and his colleagues on the FOMC will set monetary policy in order to support maximum employment and stable prices and will make those decisions based solely on careful, objective and non-political analysis," the Fed said.

The Fed has hiked interest rates nine times since 2015, seven times under Trump and four times since Powell took control of the bank in February of last year. The Fed declined to raise rates at its meeting last week. 

Powell said at a press conference last week that the Fed is “patiently awaiting greater clarity” before hiking rates again as the economy’s continued strength faces threats from waning global growth and geopolitical tensions.

The chairman cited the possible turmoil caused by sluggishness in Europe and China, a separation between the United Kingdom and European Union and stalemate trade battles.