President Donald Trump said he expected Jerome Powell to be a cheap-money Fed chairman and lamented to wealthy Republican donors at a Hamptons fundraiser on Friday that his nominee instead raised interest rates, according to three people present.
Trump has publicly lamented the central bank's recent rate increases, but his private remarks to donors are the most personal criticism of Powell's performance to emerge so far. The people who described the comments asked not to be identified because the fundraiser was closed to the public.
His jabs built on an attack he leveled at Powell's Fed in July, when he pronounced himself "not thrilled" with the rate increases. That broadside, in an interview with CNBC, broke with a more than two-decade-old norm of presidents avoiding comments on monetary policy out of respect for the Fed's independence.
About 60 people attended Trump's fundraiser at the Southampton home of Howard Lorber, the chairman of hot dog company Nathan's Famous. Guests included Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts; John Catsimatidis Jr., the son of Red Apple Group Chairman John Catsimatidis; Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel; Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; White House Chief of Staff John Kelly; and senior White House aides Jared Kushner and Dan Scavino.
Trump held a discussion with a small group and then made remarks to a larger group over a dinner of salad with chicken in a tent in Lorber's yard. It was a humid night and Trump joked that Lorber could have afforded better air conditioning, according to one of the people.
Trump Fed History
Nov 3, 2015 Reuters: Trump Accuses Fed of Keeping Rates Low to Help Obama
Trump, speaking at a news conference at his company's New York City headquarters, also called Fed Chair Janet Yellen "highly political."