President Donald Trump on Monday said he would criticize the Federal Reserve if it continues to raise interest rates, setting up a potential clash next month when the central bank is expected to do just that.
“I’m not thrilled with his raising of interest rates, no,“ Trump said of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell in an interview with Reuters.
Powell was nominated by Trump in November and took the helm of the central bank in early February. Since then, the Fed has hiked rates twice and has signaled that it will do so again in September.
According to Reuters, Trump said he was unhappy that other countries‘ central banks were keeping the value of their currencies low. A weaker currency makes exports cheaper and imports more expensive.
“We’re negotiating very powerfully and strongly with other nations,” Trump said. “We’re going to win. But during this period of time I should be given some help by the Fed. The other countries are accommodated.”
Asked whether he believed in the Fed’s ability to make decisions independent from political considerations, Trump said, “I believe in the Fed doing what’s good for the country.”
“Am I happy with my choice [of Powell to lead the Fed]?” Trump said to Reuters. “I’ll let you know in seven years.”
The president, a real estate mogul, has repeatedly mentioned his preference for low interest rates. He reportedly told attendees at a fundraiser on Friday that he was disappointed by the chairman, saying his advisers told him Powell liked “cheap money.”
Powell, who had already served on the Fed board for six years before becoming chairman, was seen as more sympathetic to Republican calls for a simpler rule book for banks, yet also in line with former Chair Janet Yellen on interest rate policy.
Other finalists for the job – former Fed governor Kevin Warsh and Stanford economist John Taylor – were widely expected to be more aggressive in hiking rates.