Powell: Fed won't bow to Trump's criticism

by Ryan Smith22 Aug 2018

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said he is determined to keep the Fed independent despite criticism from President Donald Trump, according to a South Carolina lawmaker.

Trump reportedly slammed Powell at a recent fundraiser, complaining about the two interest-rate hikes that have occurred under the new head of the central bank and saying he expected Powell to be a cheap-money chairman. In an interview with Reuters, Trump said that the US’ ongoing trade disputes mean the Fed shouldn’t raise rates.

“During this period of time, I should be given some help by the Fed,” he said.

But Republican Sen. Tim Scott said that Powell told him that the Fed will remain independent, according to a Washington Post report.

Scott said that in their conversation, Powell “reinforced that their goal is to (address) unemployment, our economy, and that is their only objective.”

Scott told the Post that he asked Powell “specifically about the independence of the Fed” and was told that it would not be compromised.

Earlier this summer, Powell said in an interview with American Public Media’s “Marketplace” that Fed officials would not make rate decisions based on the prevailing political headwinds.

“We do out work in a strictly nonpolitical way, based on detailed analysis, which we put on the record transparently,” Powell said.

Trump may be in for some more bad news; the minutes of the Fed’s July 31-Aug. 1 meeting, released Wednesday, indicate that the Fed is looking to raise rates again sooner rather than later.