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Trump and Powell in 2017. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump said Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell has "really stepped up," offering rare praise during a press conference on Monday.

Why it matters: It marks a big shift in Trump's tone on Powell — who he's bashed for months — after a series of measures announced by the Fed in recent days to ease the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

"I am happy with [Powell]. ... I really think he’s caught up. He’s really stepped up over the last week. I called him today and I said, ‘Jerome, good job.’”
— President Trump

Of note: Trump told reporters the two men spoke via phone on Monday. The Federal Reserve on Monday night wouldn't comment on whether the phone call happened.

  • Despite the central bank's apolitical nature, it's normal for presidents to occasionally speak with their Fed chairs, particularly in times of crisis.
  • Powell and Trump have spoken several times before, though Trump's public criticism offered an unprecedented backdrop for these conversations.

Context: Trump's praise for Powell comes as the economy could see extremely high unemployment rates and a sharp drop-off in GDP growth from efforts to stop the coronavirus outbreak.

  • A day before the Fed took one of the biggest steps to date to help the economy, Trump said he wasn't happy with Powell and threatened he had the power to demote him, but he hadn't "made any decisions on that." (Experts are split on whether the president has the power to remove the Fed chair, and it's unclear if a demotion would be effective.)
  • The comments echoed Trump's months-long calls for the central bank to lower interest rates, despite the strong economy he touted.

The bottom line: The Fed has acted swiftly to reinstate 2008 financial crisis measures to ease the economic pain from the coronavirus. It's won approval from Trump — though the Fed has repeatedly said it doesn't take criticism from the White House into consideration.

  • "[Powell's] not finished. He's got other arrows in the quiver, or whatever they say, he's got plenty of arrows," Trump told reporters, referring to more actions the Fed could take to help the economy.

Go deeper

Rep. Rice demands Cuomo resign after third woman accuses him of misconduct

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February news conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) on Monday evening called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign, after a third woman accused him of inappropriate behavior.

Driving the news: Anna Ruch told the New York Times Monday that Cuomo asked to kiss her at a New York City wedding reception in September 2019.

Scoop: Inside the GOP's plan to retake the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Republicans will reclaim their majority in 2022 by offering candidates who are women, minorities or veterans, a memo obtained by Axios says.

Why it matters: The document, drafted by a super PAC blessed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, names top Democrats to target — Jared Golden of Maine, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin — and the type of Republican candidates to beat them.

48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump talked out of early Ohio endorsement

Jane Timken at a 2017 Trump rally. Photo: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Donald Trump had to be talked out of making an early endorsement in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate race, a sign of his eagerness to reengage politically, people familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

What we're hearing: The former president discussed endorsing former state GOP chair Jane Timken last week during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, but top advisers — including Donald Trump Jr. — urged him to wait.