Archive

ShareThis Page
Trump backs Mnuchin, Fed as stock prices tumble | TribLIVE.com
Politics Election

Trump backs Mnuchin, Fed as stock prices tumble

574746AP18359653809964
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin talks with reporters at the White House in Washington. President Trump says he has confidence in Mnuchin, calling him a “very talented guy” and a “very smart person.”
574746AP18358739887505
On Wall Street, stocks had already been down but intensified their fall in December. Markets are facing their worst month in a decade over fears about a U.S. trade war with China, a slowing global economy and chaos in the White House. By the close of a holiday-shortened trading session Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had sunk 653 points for the day — 2.9 percent.

WASHINGTON —— President Trump expressed confidence in the Treasury secretary, Federal Reserve and U.S. economy Tuesday, moving to calm financial markets after a report that said he had discussed firing the central bank’s chairman over raising interest rates.

Trump, asked if he has confidence in Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said, “Yes I do, very talented guy, very smart person.” Asked about Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, Trump said the central bank is “raising interest rates too fast” but he has “confidence” that the Fed will “get it pretty soon.”

The president, after addressing U.S. armed forces personnel on a Christmas Day video conference call, said the Fed is raising interest rates because the “economy is doing so well,” adding that U.S. companies are having “record kinds of numbers” and it’s a “tremendous opportunity to buy.”

The remarks were Trump’s first expression of public support for Mnuchin and Powell since people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News last week that the president has discussed dismissing the Fed chairman, who was recommended by Mnuchin.

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index fell 2.7 percent Monday in its worst-ever trading session before the Christmas holiday. The index is on the brink of a bear market, just shy of its first 20 percent decline since 2009.

As stocks rose for most of Trump’s first two years in office, the president frequently pointed to the gains as a sign of his success. Since they began falling, he’s often blamed the Fed and its interest-rate increases, even though investors are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of the administration’s trade battles with China and Europe.

Trump’s Oval Office remarks Tuesday contrasted with a Twitter post Monday saying: “The only problem our economy has is the Fed. They don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders.”

One reason stocks have been declining is because of the partial U.S. government shutdown over Trump’s demand for billions of dollars for a wall on the Mexican border, his top campaign promise. On that issue, Trump gave little ground on Tuesday, saying that the agencies won’t reopen “until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they’d like to call it.”

Trump’s comments on Mnuchin followed the secretary’s convening of an emergency meeting with top U.S. financial regulators on Monday, after a call with executives from six major banks the previous day. The Treasury Department said Sunday that banks have adequate liquidity for lending, surprising investors who didn’t know that might be an issue.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.