AP Photo/Pablo Martinez MonsivaisPresident Donald Trump said he told Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell that interest rates were too high in a rare meeting between the two on Monday.
Both sides initially issued positive readouts of the White House meeting, which Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also attended.
But the late-night tweet more closely reflected an unprecedented pressure campaign the president launched against Powell ahead of the 2020 elections.
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President Donald Trump said he told Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell that interest rates were too high in a rare meeting between the two on Monday, escalating months of pressure on the independent central bank.
“At my meeting with Jay Powell this morning, I protested fact that our Fed Rate is set too high relative to the interest rates of other competitor countries,” the president wrote on Twitter that evening. “In fact, our rates should be lower than all others (we are the U.S.). Too strong a Dollar hurting manufacturers & growth!”
Both sides initially issued positive readouts of the White House meeting, which Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also attended. But the late-night tweet more closely reflected an unprecedented pressure campaign the president has launched against Powell ahead of the 2020 elections.
The Trump administration regularly pushes for aggressive measures to juice growth, including negative interest rates and a Great Recession-era program that pumped cash into the financial system. Such measures would signal severe trouble in the economy, which has cooled but maintained historic unemployment and strong consumer activity.
Trump has lashed out at his hand-picked Fed chief several times since the central bank signaled that a recent string of interest-rate cuts could be over. The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee last lowered borrowing costs in October, bringing them to a historically low range of between 1.5% and 1.75%.
The White House looked into whether Powell could be demoted early this year and has separately sought to place political allies at the top of the central bank. In a statement following the Monday meeting, the Fed said monetary policy expectations were not discussed and emphasized its independence.
“Chair Powell said that he and his colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee will set monetary policy, as required by law, to support maximum employment and stable prices and will make those decisions based solely on careful, objective and non-political analysis,” the statement said.