President Trump says Fed Chair Powell’s job is ‘safe’

Martin Crutsinger
Associated Press

Washington – Despite all of his attacks on the Federal Reserve, President Donald Trump says Chairman Jerome Powell’s job is safe.

Asked in an interview with Fox News if Powell’s job was safe, Trump said, “It’s safe. Yes, it’s safe. I mean, sure, why not.”

In the interview broadcast Thursday, Trump did keep up his criticism of Powell and the Fed, saying they raised interest rates too quickly last year and were cutting rates too slowly this year. The president noted that while some people had hoped for a half-percentage point cut in rates on Wednesday, the Fed cut rates by only a quarter-point.

Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell speaks at a news conference following a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Washington.

After the rate cut was announced Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again. No ‘guts,’ no sense. No vision! A terrible communicator.”

In the Fox interview, Trump said that he felt the Fed should have done more because other countries have done more in pushing rates down. In a recent tweet, Trump had called on the Fed to slash rates to zero or even into negative territory like other central banks including the European Central Bank .

Powell, asked about Trump’s latest attack during his Wednesday news conference, said that he would stick to his policy of not commenting on the criticism, insisting that the Fed would keep conducting monetary policy without regard to political pressures.

“I’ll continue to say I think the independence of the Federal Reserve from direct political control has served the public well over time,” Powell said.

There had been reports earlier this year that Trump had become so dissatisfied with Powell that he was examining whether he could either fire him or demote him from Fed chairman to just a board member. Experts have said that Trump does not have the power to remove a Fed official except for cause, a definition that does not cover policy differences.