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Trump isn't micromanaging the Federal Reserve: top White House economist

Brian Sozzi

Don’t read too much into President Donald Trump’s continued attacks on the Jerome Powell led Federal Reserve — he respects the institution’s independence.

Or so says a key economic advisor to the president.

“Absolutely, 100% we respect the independence of the Federal Reserve,” White House Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett said Friday on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

Hassett added, “I think the people that voted for the president expect him to speak his mind about the Fed. But it doesn’t mean we are trying to micromanage the Fed and what they are doing. The president disagrees with Jay Powell about policy, but that’s a discussion that his voters expect to hear from him.”

Trump has made it no secret — for months on end — that he isn’t a fan of chairman Powell’s stance on monetary policy. In the president’s mind, Powell’s interest rate hikes in 2018 slowed down an economy benefiting from his corporate and individual tax cuts. And in turn, that led to a bruising stock market slide in the fall of 2018 that by many measures hurt the U.S. economy.

President Donald Trump has attacked the Federal Reserve on Twitter. (AP Foto/Evan Vucci)

Trump has been adamant — often turning to Twitter to voice his displeasure — that with muted inflation the Fed should cut interest rates to stimulate economic growth. Instead, the Fed has reiterated its independence from political rhetoric and promised to stay “patient” with respect to future policy changes. That promise of patience has led to a rebound in the stock market from the December lows.

Judging by the April jobs report released Friday, the economy doesn’t need a rate cut. In fact, it should just be left alone by both Trump and Powell.

The U.S. economy created 263,000 jobs in April. At 3.6%, the unemployment rate hit its lowest level since December 1969 and improved 0.3% from March.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-host of ‘The First Trade’ at Yahoo Finance. Follow Brian Sozzi him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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