Trump Spoke With Powell on May 20, Days After Criticizing Him
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump spoke by phone with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in May days after he hectored the central bank chief with a tweet asking him to “match” stimulus measures taken by China’s government.
The two men spoke for five minutes from 4:42 p.m. to 4:47 p.m. on May 20, according to Powell’s May calendar, posted online Friday by the Fed. That evening Powell delivered a speech on the U.S. financial system at a conference sponsored by the Atlanta Fed.
Fed spokesman David Skidmore declined to comment on the content of the call or who initiated it.
Powell has been weathering a barrage of criticism and threats from the president for almost a year, aimed mainly at getting the Fed to lower interest rates. After raising its benchmark by 1 percentage point in 2018, the Fed has held it steady this year as the global economic outlook cooled, and last month indicated that it’s open to a cut. The next rate-setting meeting is July 30-31 in Washington.
The president and Fed chief have spoken by phone at least three times since Trump nominated Powell for the job in November 2017. Trump previously called Powell on April 11, the same evening the Fed chair reassured Democratic lawmakers he would preserve the independence of the central bank from political pressure. They also spoke March 8 as concerns that day about the U.S. job market helped send stocks to their biggest weekly drop of the year.
Powell’s calendar also shows a 45-minute meeting with JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon at the Fed on May 15.
Powell met with several lawmakers during the month, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican. Others included Senators Mike Braun, Shelley Moore Capito, Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, Marsha Blackburn and Bill Cassidy. He also met representatives Rick Larsen, Bill Posey and Tom Graves.
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