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President Trump’s past attacks on Federal Reserve extremely unusual: Yahoo Finance reporter

Yahoo Finance Reporter Brian Cheung discusses President Trump's attacks on the Federal Reserve and the role the the Fed plays in the US economy amid the coronavirus.

Video Transcript

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah, it is indeed very rare, and even when you bring up H. W. Bush, he made those remarks criticizing the Federal Reserve after he had already left office. So to openly criticize a Federal Reserve chairman while you're in office is quite rare.

You do have to rewind to 1982 when Reagan at the time very politely criticizing in comparison the Fed policy, as you mentioned Volcker raising interest rates quite dramatically in the Volcker Shock. Reagan said at the time, quote, "It was the wrong signal."

Very different language than what we have heard from the president who has tweeted on many accounts things like Chairman Powell "can't putt." He has "no touch." He's a "terrible communicator." He has "no guts."

And then the famous August tweet from last year, "Who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?" shortly before then raising tariffs. That was at the end of August last year.

It seems like a million years ago, but we do have to remember that that type of language is just completely unusual when it comes to the dynamic between the Federal Reserve and the White House, which tends to have that silo between them. It doesn't usually-- it isn't usually a case that there's partisanship with who's at the Fed, even though it is, of course, a political appointee.

You have to remember that Ben Bernanke was appointed by George W. Bush. That was renewed under an Obama administration, even with the change of the political parties. Yellen was appointed by Obama in his second term. And although it did seem like maybe there was the possibility that Trump could keep her at first, he ultimately ended up going with someone else, because he wanted to "make his mark on the Fed" was the way that he described it.

But keep in mind, Jay Powell was a person who's been at the Fed for a long time. He is someone that was actually appointed under the Obama administration, even though he is a registered Republican. But again, the type of language, calling him a putter who has no touch, that's extremely, extremely unusual.