Trump takes a rare presidential swipe at Fed, criticizes interest rate hikes

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Thursday criticized the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates, a rare rebuke by a sitting president that upends longstanding executive branch protocol to avoid commenting on monetary policy.

In an interview with CNBC, set to air Friday morning but reported in part by the network on Thursday afternoon, Trump said “I’m not thrilled” about the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates twice this year, to a current range of 1.75 to 2 percent. Trump implied the moves could hurt his administration’s efforts to increase economic growth.

“I don’t like all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up,” Trump told the network, which did not immediately make a full transcript of the interview available.


“I am not happy about it,” Trump said at another point. “But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best.”

Independence from presidential criticism has long been a hallmark of the Fed’s existence, and a contributor to its ability to maintain monetary policy that aims to keep inflation stable and the economy running at maximum employment. Trump told the network he understood he was breaking with that protocol, but did not care.

“Now I’m just saying the same thing that I would have said as a private citizen,” he said. “So somebody would say, ‘Oh, maybe you shouldn’t say that as president.’ I couldn’t care less what they say, because my views haven’t changed.”

The Fed is on track to raise rates twice more this year, for a total of four increases in 2018.