Business World

Saturday 21 September 2019

Going nowhere: Fed chairman 'is safe from being fired by Trump'

 

Money men: US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (right) with chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell, who is said to have angered Donald Trump. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg
Money men: US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (right) with chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell, who is said to have angered Donald Trump. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Jennifer Epstein

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin moved to reassure financial markets that Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell wouldn't be ousted, after a new report that President Donald Trump has repeatedly discussed firing the central bank chief in recent days.

Mr Mnuchin said in a pair of tweets on Saturday that he'd spoken with the president about the matter, and quoted Mr Trump saying he didn't believe he had the authority to remove the central bank chief. It remains to be seen if jittery markets will be convinced.

Key lawmakers and market strategists spent Saturday urging Mr Trump not to act against Mr Powell.

Mr Mnuchin's tweets followed a brief, less definitive statement three hours earlier from White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who said she wasn't aware of any plans to remove Mr Powell.

The White House had otherwise been silent about the situation for 18 hours since Bloomberg reported the discussions.

"I never suggested firing chairman 'Jay' Powell, nor do I believe I have the right to do so," Mr Mnuchin quoted Mr Trump as saying.

Mr Trump has discussed firing Mr Powell in the past few days as his frustration with the central banker intensified following Wednesday's interest rate increase and intensifying stock market losses, according to four people familiar with the matter.

Bloomberg reported late on Friday that advisers close to Mr Trump aren't convinced he would move against Mr Powell, and are hoping the president's anger will dissipate over the holidays.

Bloomberg

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