In Rare Move for a President, Trump Criticizes Fed

White House issues statement saying POTUS is not trying to influence the central bank
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2018 3:40 PM CDT
In this Nov. 2, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with Federal Reserve board member Jerome Powell after announcing him as his nominee for the next chair of the Federal Reserve, in...   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

(Newser) – President Trump isn't happy with the Federal Reserve—but the fact that he said so is surprising. The POTUS told CNBC's Joe Kernen, in an interview that will air Friday on Squawk Box, "I'm not thrilled" with the two interest rate increases the Fed has instituted this year and the two more that are likely to come before 2018 is up. "Because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again," Trump said, implying the central bank could hinder economic growth. "I don't really—I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best. ... I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up." CNBC calls the rebuke "stinging and historically rare criticism," noting that presidents typically don't intercede with Fed affairs. Bloomberg's headline says Trump "trespass[ed] on Fed's independence."

The Washington Post says Trump broke with "longstanding practice" by criticizing the Fed, which presidents typically avoid doing "out of respect for the independence of the institution, and to avoid any hint of political influence over the nation’s monetary supply." And in a statement, the White House noted that Trump was not intending to exert any such influence: "Of course the President respects the independence of the Fed. As he said he considers the Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell a very good man and that he is not interfering with Fed policy decisions," it reads. "The President’s views on interest rates are well known and his comments today are a reiteration of those long held positions, and public comments." During the interview, Trump himself predicted the response: "Now I’m just saying the same thing that I would have said as a private citizen," he said. "So somebody would say, 'Oh, maybe you shouldn’t say that as president.' I couldn’t care less what they say, because my views haven’t changed."

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