Trump calls Powell to thank Fed for actions on economy

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President Donald Trump said he called Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Monday to thank him for his efforts to fight an economic slowdown from the coronavirus outbreak.

“I am happy with him,” Trump said at a White House news conference. “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.’”

Jerome Powell and Donald Trump
Jerome Powell and Donald Trump

The Fed ventured into unchartered territory Monday by offering to directly finance U.S. companies, jumping ahead of the government, which is still struggling to produce a multi-trillion dollar package of support for American businesses and families.

Powell and his colleagues at the U.S. central bank went all in early Monday with another series of emergency actions to keep credit flowing. In their latest steps, the Fed went beyond its normal parameters to pledge support not only to financial markets but also through lending to businesses, states and municipalities that are buckling as the economy shutters to stem the virus.

The lack of a deal by Congress on the latest fiscal-stimulus measures later Monday contributed to a continued slide in stock markets. Wall Street benchmarks closed Monday at their lowest in more than three years.

A spokesperson for the Fed declined to comment.

Trump’s positive comments toward Powell were a shift from his repeated attacks for more than a year on the Fed chair and the central bank’s policy.

Bloomberg News