President Donald Trump, asked if he still wants to demote Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, told reporters Tuesday, “Let’s see what he does.”
Trump’s remarks came a day before the Fed was set to announce its next decision on interest rates.
The president added that he wants a “level playing field” from the central bank.
Bloomberg News reported Tuesday morning that the White House had looked into demoting Powell in February. Top White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters that the Trump administration was not currently considering such a move.
The Fed will make a decision on interest rates on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET, concluding a two-day meeting. The central bank is not expected to make any policy changes, but investors are hoping for the central bank to signal a rate cut as soon as July. Powell will be holding a news conference Wednesday following the decision.
Stocks have rallied this month in part because investors expect the Fed to ease its monetary policy stance. The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite are all up more than 6% for June through Tuesday’s close. Traders are pricing in a more than 80% likelihood that the Fed will cut rates next month, according to the CME Group FedWatch tool.
Trump in recent days has pressured the Fed under Powell not to raise rates, claiming that comparatively lower interest rates for the euro give other countries an advantage over the U.S.
This line of attack is not new: Trump has claimed the seven Fed interest rate hikes in 2017 and 2018 — from the near-zero levels that followed the financial crisis — have held back U.S. economic growth.
On Tuesday morning, Trump lashed out at European Central Bank President Mario Draghi for his comments signaling openness to more monetary stimulus in Europe, which could lower the euro’s value compared to the dollar.
Draghi’s comments “immediately dropped the Euro against the Dollar, making it unfairly easier for them to compete against the USA. They have been getting away with this for years, along with China and others,” Trump tweeted.
“If you look at what’s going on with the euro, they have a much diff stance than our folks do,” Trump told reporters outside the White House on Tuesday afternoon. “As you know they did something today that was very dramatic, and frankly, it helped that part of the world.”
“I want to be given a level playing field. And so far I haven’t been,” the president added.
Trump spoke to reporters outside while en route to Orlando, Florida, where he will officially launch his 2020 reelection bid.