Trump says Fed Chairman Powell’s job is ‘safe’

“I mean, sure, why not?” the president said when asked if Jerome Powell’s job is safe. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s job is “safe” even as he continued to batter his handpicked chief of the U.S. central bank.

“It’s safe, yeah. It’s safe. I mean, sure, why not?” Trump said when asked whether Powell’s job were safe during a Fox News interview conducted in California alongside a section of border wall.

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Asked why he hesitated as he offered his assessment of Powell’s professional prospects, Trump responded: “No, I don’t pause. I mean, he’s got a job. And, you know, I’m disappointed in him. I’m very disappointed in him.”

Trump has long insisted he has the authority to fire Powell, whom he nominated last fall to replace former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Powell, in turn, has said Trump cannot dismiss him and that he intends to serve his full term as chairman.

The president’s statements came after the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates a quarter-point on Wednesday but did not explicitly signal that another cut was forthcoming, provoking Trump to ridicule Powell on Twitter as a “terrible communicator” with “No ‘guts,’ no sense, no vision!”

Trump kept up those criticisms in his Fox News interview, remarking that he does not think Powell “knows how to play the game very well.” The president also renewed his complaints about U.S. interest rates in relation to those of other countries, while touting the strength of the American economy.

“I think we should do more because other countries have done more. If you look at Germany, if you look at Japan, if you look at so many others, they’re cutting much more,” Trump said.

“In fact, they’re borrowing money and getting paid to borrow money, and we’re paying interest — and we’re the most prime in the world,” he continued. “We have this great economy. We’re doing better than we’ve ever done. … But we should be cutting. There’s no inflation.”