President Trump said on Sunday he never threatened to demote Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, despite his repeated criticism of the head of the U.S. central bank.
“I didn’t ever threaten to demote him,” Trump said during an interview on “Meet the Press.” “I’d be able to do that if I wanted but I haven’t suggested that.”
Trump added that he believes Powell, who he appointed to lead the Fed more than a year ago, raised interest rates too quickly and disapproved of his monetary policy decisions. He said earlier this month that the stock market would be “10,000 points higher” if the Fed didn’t raise rates.
“What he’s done is $50 billion a month in quantitative tightening,” the president said Sunday. “That’s ridiculous. What he’s done is he raised interest rates too fast.”
Bloomberg reported last Tuesday that Trump had discussed demoting Powell in February, though White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow said he would not comment on the matter.
“It’s a six-month-old story,” Kudlow told reporters outside the White House. “It allegedly happened six months ago, and it’s not happening today, and therefore I have nothing to say about it.”
Following the report, Trump was asked if he was still considering demoting Powell and said: “Let’s see what he does.”
The Fed has raised interest rates seven times since Trump took office, including four times in the past year (the last rate hike coming in December 2018). Last week, policymakers at the Fed voted to keep the benchmark federal funds rate unchanged at 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent.
Speaking at a press conference last week, Powell told reporters he plans to fully serve out his term as chair of the central bank.
“I think the law is clear that I have a four-year term, and I fully intend to serve it,” he said.