April 2, 2019 / 10:29 PM / 3 months ago

Trump tells Fed chair Powell he is 'stuck' with him: WSJ

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference following the two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy meeting in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump told Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell “I guess I’m stuck with you” in a recent phone call, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, underscoring tensions between the White House and the independent central bank.

The Trump administration has repeatedly and publicly blasted the Fed for raising interest rates last year, and on Friday the president blamed the Fed for hurting the U.S. economy and stock market.

Trump recounted the recent call with Powell at one of several private policy meetings over the past week where the policymaker was a target of the president’s criticism, the newspaper reported, citing an unnamed person who heard the comments.

Powell had a “brief call” with Trump on March 8, a Fed representative said, declining to comment further.

The two also had a 1-1/2-hour steak dinner in February. At the time the Fed said Powell “did not discuss his expectations for monetary policy,” decisions that would be based “solely on careful, objective and non-political analysis.”

The White House had no immediate comment on the reported phone call but one official familiar with Trump’s complaints about Powell said it would not be surprising if Trump had said what the newspaper reported.

Prior administrations have taken care not to comment on Fed policy publicly, but Trump has railed repeatedly against the U.S. central bank chairman he selected. Trump has also explored whether he could remove Powell as chairman, according to reports.

Last month, Trump said he would nominate Stephen Moore, another critic of the Powell Fed who was an adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign, to an open seat on the Fed’s Board of Governors.

Reporting by Steve Holland in Washington and Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; Editing by Tom Brown

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