- President Donald Trump continued to attack the Federal Reserve on Thursday, criticizing Chairman Jerome Powell as being too stringent with monetary policy.
- He blamed the Fed for causing a massive drop in stocks this week.
- Despite the criticism, Trump says he will not fire Powell.
"It's a correction that I think is caused by the Fed and interest rates," Trump said from the Oval Office. "The dollar is very strong, very powerful – and it causes difficulty doing business."
Trump said he believes that the Fed's monetary policy "is far too stringent," adding that "they're making a mistake and it's not right."
In a response to whether he is considering firing Powell, Trump said, "No, I'm not going to fire him. I'm just disappointed."
The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 outlines the appointment and removal of Fed officials, saying they are to serve four-year terms "unless sooner removed for cause by the President." The act does not clarify what the required magnitude is for the president's cause of removal.
Trump has previously expressed displeasure with the central bank, and that's led some to fear that the institution's independence is at risk. His attacks on the Fed renewed late Wednesday, when he said he was "not happy" with the central bank's policy decisions. Trump told Fox News that he could't understand why Powell was continuing to tighten U.S. monetary policy.
"The Fed is going wild," Trump said during a telephone interview Wednesday. "The problem [causing the market drop] in my opinion is Treasury and the Fed. The Fed is going loco and there's no reason for them to do it. I'm not happy about it."
U.S. officials have sought in recent months to emphasize that Trump would honor the Fed's historic ability to make decisions independent of political interference.
"We as an administration absolutely support the independence of the Fed," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly said in July.
As recently as Tuesday, Trump had signaled that he understood the importance of maintaining a firewall between the White House and the Fed. Even as he expressed concerns about the central bank's interest rate policy, Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday that he had not spoken to Powell about them.
"I like to stay uninvolved with them. I have not spoken" to Powell all year, the president said.
Trump's attitude toward the Fed seemed to change Wednesday, however, as fears about rapidly rising rates helped cause the Dow Jones Industrial Average to drop more than 800 points by day's end. The posted its worst day since February and clinched its first five-day losing streak since 2016.