Is Powell’s job in jeopardy?

by Ryan Smith04 Nov 2019

While President Donald Trump has been openly critical of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for months, there have been no discussions about ousting the central bank’s head, a White House official said Friday.

Trump “has been outspoken in his views about the Fed chairman,” White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters, according to Reuters. However, Kudlow said, “there is no conversation to get rid of him, whatsoever.”

Kudlow said that monetary policy was “in a much better direction now,” and that the central bank appeared to have changed course from its “severe tight monetary policy” of 2018, Reuters reported.

“The target rate is down … the balance sheet is expanding, the monetary base is expanding, the yield curve is upward-sloping,” Kudlow said. “There are positive sides. So that huge obstacle to growth is waning.”

Last week, the Fed cut interest rates for the third time this year, but signaled that there would likely be no further cuts barring an economic downturn. That did not sit well with Trump, who lashed out on Twitter the following day.

“People are VERY disappointed in Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “The Fed has called it wrong from the beginning, too fast, too slow. They even tightened in the beginning. Others are running circles around them and laughing all the way to the bank.”

It’s not the first time Trump has attacked Powell, whom he appointed to the position. The president has said that the Fed chair “doesn’t have a clue” and has even gone so far as to call Powell and other Fed officials “boneheads.”

Powell, however, has said that he has no intention of stepping down even if the president pressures him to do so. In a July appearance before the House Financial Services Committee, the Fed chair said that “the law clearly gives me a four-year term, and I intend to serve it.”