'If he's so good, why is this happening': Trump reportedly blames Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for recommending Jerome Powell as Fed chair

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has reportedly drawn President Donald Trump’s ire after a series of economic decisions and recommendations, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • Trump is said to have blamed Mnuchin, who backed the appointment of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
  • Powell has raised interest rates three times in 2018, and more hikes are expected in 2019. Trump has been openly critical of the Fed’s moves.
  • After The Journal published its report on Friday afternoon, Trump appeared to dispel the notion that he was irritated with Mnuchin.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has reportedly drawn President Donald Trump’s ire after a series of economic decisions and recommendations, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Friday.

Trump is said to have blamed Mnuchin, who backed the appointment of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Powell has raised interest rates three times in 2018, and more are expected in 2019. Trump has railed against rate hikes, which he described as a “mistake” and his “biggest threat.”

“I think the Fed is making a mistake,” Trump said to reporters in October. “They are so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy.”

Although Trump appointed Powell to replace chairwoman Janet Yellen in 2017, he did so based on Mnuchin’s recommendation, people close to the White House said to The Journal. Sources added that Trump’s frustration towards an appointee extended to those who recommended them to him.

“I thought you told me he was going to be good,” Trump said to Mnuchin, according to people familiar with a briefing of the conversation.

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Donald Trump Steven MnuchinAlex Wong/Getty ImagesSteven Mnuchin is sworn in as Treasury Secretary for the Trump Administration in 2017.

In another conversation, Trump reportedly pointed to a shaky stock market after someone spoke highly of Mnuchin: “If he’s so good, why is this happening,” Trump said, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Trump voiced his concern with aides and reflected on whether he should have appointed JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon for Treasury Secretary, according to The Journal. Trump eventually chose Mnuchin for the position after his service as finance chairman during the presidential campaign.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a statement that Trump “appreciates” Mnuchin’s duties. Mnuchin has attempted to salvage Trump’s trade policy with China, which is frequently agitated by threats of tariffs from both countries. Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke on the phone on Friday, ahead of Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group 20 summit next week.

“The president has been long clear about his views on the Fed,” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said to The Journal, adding that Mnuchin “has been effective in carrying out the president’s agenda.”

After The Journal published its report on Friday afternoon, Trump appeared to dispel the notion that Mnuchin’s fate would mimic that of other former aides in his administration.

“I am extremely happy and proud of the job being done by [Secretary Steven Mnuchin],” Trump said in a tweet. “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,” Trump added.

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