President Trump blamed Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for a string of negative economic developments on Tuesday. Trump focused on the stock market’s recent slide and General Motors’s plan to shutter U.S. factories and lay off thousands of workers.
“I’m doing deals and I’m not being accommodated by the Fed,” Trump said in an interview with The Washington Post. “They’re making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.”
These recent comments add to a string of criticism of Powell from the president. Trump nominated him last year to lead the central bank, over rising interest rates. They also indicate the president does not believe he bears responsibility for the negative economic news this week.
“So far, I’m not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay,” Trump told the Post. “Not even a little bit. And I’m not blaming anybody, but I’m just telling you I think that the Fed is way off-base with what they’re doing.”
Trump has lashed out at Powell frequently since July for continuing a series of Fed interest rate hikes that started in December 2015. The Fed has raised rates eight times since the end of 2015, six times during Trump’s term and three times since Powell took over the central bank in February.
The president is one of few GOP politicians and right-leaning officials opposed to the Fed’s efforts to bring interest rates back toward historically neutral levels. Trump says he believes the Fed should keep interest rates low to stimulate the already-strong economy.
The president, however, expressed confidence that the U.S. economy would not enter a recession. He has repeatedly pointed to strong economic growth as evidence his policies, such as tax cuts and deregulation, are working.
GM’s announcement this week that it plans to cut 15 percent of its North American workforce could pose a political threat to Trump heading into the 2020 elections. Two plants it plans to close are located in Ohio and Michigan, two states Trump won in 2016.