President Trump and Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Monday that President Trump liked Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell's speech last week, in which Powell struck a less aggressive tone and said interest rates are "just below" the level that would neither promote nor restrict economic growth.
Between the lines: Trump has publicly and repeatedly expressed disappointment in Powell, even calling the Fed's interest rate hikes a "much bigger problem than China" in an interview with the Washington Post last week. Trump’s approval of Powell’s speech — which was widely interpreted to be less hawkish — makes it clear that Powell has to do one thing to get back in Trump’s good graces: stop raising interest rates. As a politically independent institution, however, none of this should matter much to the Fed.