President Donald Trump denied that he’d threatened to demote Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell but said he’d “be able to do that if I wanted.”
The president repeated his criticism of Powell’s actions as Fed chief in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” conducted Friday and set to air on Sunday.
“I’m not happy with his actions,” Trump said of Powell, according to a transcript provided by the network. “No, I don’t think he’s done a good job.”
Trump has spent months criticizing Powell, whom he picked to replace Janet Yellen as Fed chair, for raising interest rates, in his view, too far and too fast.
“I didn’t ever threaten to demote him,” Trump told NBC. “I have the right to do that. But I haven’t said that.”
Trump told confidants as recently as Wednesday that he believes he has the authority to replace Powell as Fed chairman, demoting him to the level of board governor, according to people familiar with the matter. Powell said on Wednesday that he intends to serve his full four-year term and that “the law is clear” on that issue.
Trump said the U.S. economy is strong enough to “bull through” what he sees as the headwinds created by the Fed’s four interest rate hikes in 2018 “but I’m not happy with” Powell’s actions.
“I had somebody that raised the rates very rapidly. Too much. He made a mistake. That’s been proven,” Trump said.