Politics

Trump says Powell and the Fed 'Fail Again' — 'No guts, no sense, no vision!'

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump says the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Jerome Powell, have "no 'guts,' no sense, no vision!"
  • The president's comments follow the Fed's vote to cut interest rates by a quarter point to a target range of 1.75% to 2%, along with a 30-basis-point cut to the interest paid on so-called excess reserves.
  • The decision to cut rates follows a monthslong pressure campaign by Trump, who often criticized Powell by name as he complained that the current interest levels put the U.S. at an economic disadvantage to countries with lower rates.
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Powell: Fed morale very high despite criticism

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Jerome Powell, have "no 'guts,' no sense, no vision!"

The president's comments followed the Fed's vote to cut interest rates by a quarter point to a target range of 1.75% to 2%, along with a 30-basis-point cut to the interest paid on so-called excess reserves.

The decision to cut rates followed a monthslong pressure campaign by Trump, who often criticized Powell by name as he complained that the current interest levels put the U.S. at an economic disadvantage to countries with lower rates.

But the central bank's leaders did not vote unanimously for the cut: Three Fed regional presidents voted against the move, two of whom have said they preferred to keep the funds rate unchanged.

VIDEO5:2805:28
Powell: May need to resume balance sheet growth sooner than expected

The divided vote and subsequent policy statement from the Fed offered few indications that further interest rate reductions lay ahead.

Stocks fell on the heels of the monetary policy decision. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 200 points, or 0.8%, shortly after the announcement, before recovering its losses. The S&P 500 slid as much as 0.8%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell as much as 1.1%.

The president had taken shots at Powell as recently as Monday, when he said Powell and the Fed "don't have a clue."

Trump's tweet after the rate cut Wednesday was no exception. "Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again," Trump tweeted, adding that Powell was "a terrible communicator!"

The president was apparently looking for a much larger cut; he had called for the Fed to bring interest rates "down to ZERO, or less," just last week.

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Powell maintained that the central bank is "fully committed to pursuing our goals of maximum employment and stable prices."

The Fed, Powell said, will "act as appropriate to sustain the expansion" of the economy.

Asked about the morale of the central bank in light of Trump's hectoring, Powell said, "In terms of the morale of the institution, I'd say it's very high. We're very unified. We feel we're doing the best job we can serving the American people."

Fears of a coming recession have been on the rise as the U.S. economy's longest-ever bull market appears to be slowing by some measures and as Trump's ongoing trade war with China continues to spook investors.

"Trade policy's not the business of the Fed," Powell said. But "trade policy is something that's weighing on the outlook of the economy," Powell said.

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Powell: Trade uncertainty effect seen in weak exports and business investment

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