When Ronald Reagan wanted Paul Volcker to cool it with the interest rate hikes, he called the Fed Chair to the White House to have his chief of staff tell him not to do it anymore. Larry Kudlow assures us that President Trump has done no such thing vis-à-vis Jay Powell.
Lawrence Kudlow said that the president’s repeated criticism of Mr. Powell’s decision to raise rates three times so far this year is a simple expression of opinion, but that Mr. Trump hasn’t taken any steps to shake up the Fed’s leadership….
“President Trump has not made the phone call, but he believes, or he is concerned, that the Fed is moving its target rate up too high and too rapidly. That’s his view.”
Leaving aside the fact that Kudlow only hears the things he wants to out of the president’s mouth or Twitter feed—in the same interview, Kudlow said “a Fed chair can only be removed for cause,” a sentiment Trump has indicated he does not necessarily agree with—is this a surprise? Does making a private phone call—well, sort of private—to issue clear orders to an underling sound like Trump’s playbook? Of course it doesn’t. Public browbeating is how Trump got to the Oval Office in the first place. Repeatedly bitching about an underling to the press and his adoring followers is the Trumpian equivalent of a quiet chat in the White House Library, and not just because the White House Library is now a lavatory next to the Oval Office with two books next to the can.