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Trump Says He’s Very Happy With Fed Chief Powell’s Performance

Donald Trump gives a thumbs up while walking on the South Lawn of the White House. Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)

President Donald Trump, a previously fierce critic of the Federal Reserve who has shifted to praise as it battled the coronavirus, has voiced fresh satisfaction with Chair Jerome Powell.

“I’m very happy with his performance,” Trump said in a Fox Business Network interview Wednesday. “I would say I was not happy with him at the beginning” but he’s becoming more happy, he said.

Powell, who took over as Fed chief in 2018 after being picked by Trump for the job, had weathered harsh criticism from the White House before the president’s tone changed in March as the central bank slashed interest rates to zero to support the U.S. economy during the pandemic.

”Over the last period of six months he’s really stepped up to the plate,” Trump said.

The president’s positive comments have marked a shift from his repeated attacks for more than a year on the Fed chair and the central bank’s policy as it raised interest rates during 2018. Trump grew so frustrated that he discussed firing Powell, Bloomberg News reported in December of that year.

In addition to cutting rates, the Fed has worked with Treasury to launch a range of emergency lending programs aimed at providing a credit backstop to everything from municipalities to medium-sized businesses. Those actions helped lower borrowing costs and keep the financial system liquid in a time of stress, while propelling the stock market higher.

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