President Donald Trump is not happy with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, casting blame at him for the appointment of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, according to an article by Peter Nicholas, Nick Timiraos and Bob Davis for The Wall Street Journal.
The article explained that while all of Trump’s public communications surrounding Mnuchin have been positive, the president recently expressed displeasure to his advisors, saying rising interest rates could jeopardize economic gains nearing his 2020 reelection campaign.
From the article:
Looking back to his appointment of Mr. Mnuchin in 2016, Mr. Trump has mused to advisers about whether he should have tapped someone else, mentioning JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive James Dimon as an alternative. A spokesman for Mr. Dimon declined to comment.
In a conversation with someone who praised Mr. Mnuchin’s performance, Mr. Trump mentioned the volatile stock market. Aides have said he views the market as a barometer of his White House performance every bit as important as his poll ratings. “If he’s so good, why is this happening?” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Mnuchin, according to a person familiar with the matter.
However, Trump denies this claim on miniblog site Twitter, saying he is pleased with Mnuchin’s performance, and even calling out the WSJ as fake news.
I am extremely happy and proud of the job being done by @USTreasury Secretary @StevenMnuchin1. The FAKE NEWS likes to write stories to the contrary, quoting phony sources or jealous people, but they aren’t true. They never like to ask me for a quote b/c it would kill their story.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 23, 2018
The WSJ article, however, says it did request a comment from the White House, but that request was denied.
And while this may be the first time reports are surfacing of Trump’s displeasure with Mnuchin, it is certainly not the first time he has criticized rising 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. And once again in September, saying he wasn’t happy about the interest rate hike.