It is no secret that United States President Donald Trump has not been pleased with the performance of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. However, despite Trump’s continual criticism on Powell through his twitter account, the Fed chair stated emphatically that he would not resign from his post if asked.
The comments came on Friday in Atlanta during a panel held at the annual American Economics Association conference. Powell was joined on the panel by former Fed chairs Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke.
Trump has recently been complaining vocally that Powell’s policy to raise interest rates is what is causing the strong economy to begin to sputter. It has been reported that the president has also been asking his advisors if it is within his scope of authority to fire the Fed chair if he is not pleased with his performance. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refutes the allegation that Trump wishes to relieve Powell of his duties.
During the panel, Powell reiterated that he has not spoken with Trump directly about his concerns. Powell told moderator Neil Irwin that although it is not particularly uncommon for Fed chairs to meet with the administration of the White House, nothing has been scheduled for him to do so.
Yellen and Bernanke both used the panel to affirm their opinion that the nation’s monetary policy should be insulated from politics. Interest rate changes should be driven by solid economic data and not the whims of the politicians in office.
Yellen went on to say that although Trump has the right to comment on the Fed, it is a slippery slope because it could potentially undermine the investor and consumer confidence in the Fed to make the right decisions for the country’s economic policy. Powell agreed with Yellen, assuring the listeners that the Fed would not be swayed by political commentary in its decision-making process.