President Donald Trump is giving the Federal Reserve grief over interest rate hikes once again, but Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is paying him no mind.
"I'd rather pay down debt or do other things, create more jobs, so I'm worried about the fact that they seem to like raising interest rates. We can do other things with the money," Trump added.
This is at least the third time this year that Trump has vocally challenged the Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates.
In July, after the Fed’s second rate hike of the year, Trump expressed displeasure with the decision, breaking tradition with his vocal criticism of the Fed and implying that he would pressure the Fed to do something about it. Then again in August, Trump complained to a crowd of Republican donors at a fundraiser in the Hamptons about Powell's rate hikes.
Thus far, Powell has kept an iron wall between the Fed's decisions and Trump's ire, maintaining that the President will have no say in how the Fed carries out its mission.
At yesterday’s press conference following the Fed’s decision to raise rates by a quarter percent, Powell was asked about Trump’s criticism to which he responded:
"We don't consider political factors or things like that…That's who we are. That's what we do. And that's just the way it's always going to be for us."
"We've been given a really important job to do on behalf of the American people by Congress, and we've been given the tools to do it… My colleagues and I are focused exclusively on carrying out that mission," Powell said.
At his press conference Trump was quick to follow his criticism of the Fed’s decision with praise for the U.S. economy’s strength, saying that though he doesn’t like the rate hikes, he knows the Fed keeps issuing them because, “we’re doing so well.”
The Fed is projected to continue raising interest rates gradually. Powell said as much in yesterday’s press conference in response to questions about why he won’t take more radical action.
Powell said at this time gradually raising interest rates is the best way to respect the tension between overheating the economy and quashing expansion.