Washington, Nov 24 (AFP) Donald Trump has praised the work of his treasury secretary after a report said the president was dissatisfied with his pick and blames him for the appointment of a Federal Reserve chairman who has raised interest rates.
“I am extremely happy and proud of the job being done by @USTreasury Secretary” Steven Mnuchin, Trump said on Twitter.
Citing Trump’s advisors, the Journal reported that Trump has also voiced his displeasure over Mnuchin’s skepticism toward punitive trade actions against China, as well as recent volatility of the stock market.
Quoting a person familiar with the matter, the Journal reported that during a conversation with someone who praised Mnuchin’s performance, Trump mentioned turbulence on the stock market and asked: “If he’s so good, why is this happening?”
The Trump White House has been notorious for its high turnover, with heavyweights including former secretary of state Rex Tillerson and attorney general Jeff Sessions pushed out after losing their boss’s confidence.
Trump said the report about Mnuchin was “fake news,” a retort he also issued in late 2017 over reports that Tillerson would leave the administration.
Working in Mnuchin’s favour is his long history with Trump and reputation as an unswerving loyalist who does not allow disagreements to spill out into the public domain.
The main sticking point, however, is reportedly Trump’s annoyance with Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, whose ascendance he pins on Mnuchin — although Trump nominated Powell to the post.
The Fed, an independent body, has raised its benchmark interest rate three times this year, much to the chagrin of Trump who views the hikes as a threat to the economy and his re-election chances in 2020.
Trump has reportedly mused among his advisors that he would have been better served by picking Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, when he formed his cabinet in 2016.