President Donald Trump on Monday criticized Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell, his appointee, for raising interest rates too quickly.
Trump is escalating his Fed-bashing ahead of the central bank’s next meeting and against the advice of many of his top economic advisers. Recent presidents have refrained from commenting on the Fed’s handling of the economy out of respect for the Fed’s independence.
“I’m not thrilled with his raising of interest rates, no. I’m not thrilled,” Trump said in an interview with Reuters. He urged the Fed to avoid doing anything that could slow economic growth.
The benchmark U.S. interest rate, which plays a large role in setting borrowing costs for mortgages, credit cards, small businesses and auto loans, was set at 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent when Trump was sworn in. The benchmark rate is now 1.75 percent to 2 percent, and the Fed has indicated it is likely to increase rates two more times before the end of the year.
Trump selected Powell for the job last year from a shortlist of several prominent central bankers, partly because he believed Powell was more likely to keep rates lower for longer than other Republicans on the list such as John Taylor and Kevin Warsh. Trump praised Powell for his “wisdom” and “leadership” skills when he nominated him in November. Less than a year later, he is calling into question Powell’s stewardship of the economy.
Read more in the Washington Post.