Fed Chairman Powell to address House Democratic retreat next week

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference March 20 in Washington D.C

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference March 20 in Washington D.C

Despite the Fed doing two key things the White House has called for - putting an end to shrinking its balance sheet and halting rate hikes - the president reportedly "blasted" the Powell at three meetings in the past week, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Warsh, a former Fed governor and aide to President George W. Bush, has been on Trump's short list for the Fed's top spot at the outset, but the president was persuaded to go with Powell by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Trump seems to be being pretty blunt with how he feels to his much-maligned Fed chair's face (or voice) as well.

Trump recounted the recent call with Powell at one of several private policy meetings over the past week where the policymaker was a target of the president's criticism, the newspaper reported, citing an unnamed person who heard the comments.

Powell has not responded publicly to the president's criticisms, but stressed in February the importance of the Fed's "precious" independence from politics.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell holds a news conference following the two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy meeting in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2019. The president told Republican senators, supporters and staffers that if the Fed had not hiked the benchmark federal funds rate in December, economic output and stocks would be higher, the Journal reported. When asked directly if he thought Trump could fire him, he said, "no".

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@realDonaldTrump:The only problem our economy has is the Fed.

The latest attack came from National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, who said in multiple interviews last week that last year's interest rate hikes were undermining the Trump administration's campaign promise of attaining 3% sustained economic growth - a claim amplified on Trump's own Twitter feed.

Powell had a "brief call" with Trump on March 8, a Fed representative said, declining to comment further. The president's phone conversation with Powell, first reported in the Journal story, was confirmed by a Fed official.

Trump also signaled privately that he may have no choice but to leave Powell - whom he picked to lead the central bank - in place.

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