WORLD Trump denies threatening to demote Fed chairman, says he can if he wants: report


Trump denies threatening to demote Fed chairman, says he can if he wants: report


02:33, June 24, 2019


Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell listens to a reporter's question during a news conference in Washington, March 20, 2019. (Photo: AP)

WASHINGTON, June 23 (Xinhua) -- US President Donald Trump said he didn't threaten to demote US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, but he'd be able to do that if he wanted, US media reported Sunday.

"I didn't ever threaten to demote him," Trump said of Powell in a pre-recorded interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" program to be aired Sunday. "I'd be able to do that if I wanted but I haven't suggested that," the president added, according to a transcript provided by NBC.

"He raised them far too fast," Trump said during the interview, referring to Powell and the Fed's interest rate policy under his leadership.

The Fed has hiked rates seven times since Trump took office, but has since December maintained them steady in a range between 2.25 percent and 2.5 percent.

"I think the economy's so strong we're going to bull through it. But I'm not happy with his actions. No, I don't think he's done a good job," Trump said of Powell. "He made a mistake. That's been proven."

Bloomberg News reported that Trump told his confidants as recently as Wednesday that he has the authority to replace Powell.

Asked to comment on the president's criticisms, Powell said at a press conference Wednesday, "I think the law is clear that I have a four-year term, and I fully intend to serve it."

Responding to a subsequent question as to whether he should push back against Trump publicly or privately, Powell said, "I don't discuss elected officials publicly or privately."

"At the Fed, we're deeply committed to carrying out our mission and also that our independence from direct political control we see as an important institutional feature that has served both the economy and the country well," he said.

The Fed in recent weeks showed an open attitude toward cutting the benchmark rate amid calls for it to do that.

Reading a policy meeting statement Wednesday before taking questions from the press, Powell said Fed officials "will closely monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion." 

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