President Donald Trump renewed his attack on the Federal Reserve on Tuesday, accusing his own appointee, Chairman Jerome "Jay" Powell, of stunting the nation's economic growth.
"It almost looks like he's happy raising interest rates," said Trump in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published late Tuesday.
He also said he "maybe" regretted nominating Powell to the position, noting that "I have a hot economy going," and that "every time we do something great, he raises the interest rates."
The biggest risk to the economy was not tariffs, said Trump, nor an escalating trade war, nor punitive measures related to tensions with Saudi Arabia over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but rather the fact that the Fed is raising interest rates too quickly.
Trump compared his presidency to that of Barack Obama, taking care to point out that Obama operated with "zero interest" rates from the Fed, which held rates artificially low for almost a decade in order to allow the economy to grow after the 2008 recession.
“How the hell do you compete with that?" Trump noted.
The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates by one-quarter point three times this year, with a fourth increase likely slated for December as monetary policymakers seek to temper credit demand.
Powell has made note of the Fed's precarious position as the economy heats up, saying in August that the Fed currently faces two main risks — either “moving too fast and needlessly shortening the expansion" or "moving too slowly and risking a destabilizing overheating."
Tuesday's attack marks the latest in the president's feud with the Fed. Last week, Trump lambasted the chairman, saying "I'm not happy with what he's doing because it's going too fast."
It used to be rare for a sitting president to comment on the Fed, which is supposed to remain immune to political pressure. Trump said last week that he had no intention of firing Powell, and there is no historical precedent for such action.
According to Section 10 of the Federal Reserve Act it is technically possible, since "each member shall hold office for a term of fourteen years from the expiration of the term of his predecessor, unless sooner removed for cause by the President."