WASHINGTON — Since the early months of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has occasionally expressed bluntly critical remarks about the Federal Reserve’s performance under Chair Janet Yellen.
Yellen was too “political,” Trump charged. Too willing to keep interest rates ultra-low for too long. Too inclined to favor overly strict regulation of banks.
At one point, Trump suggested that the Fed chair should be “ashamed of herself.”
With Yellen set to provide her semiannual testimony to Congress beginning Tuesday, here is a look at some of Trump’s observations:
Sept. 12, 2016, interview on CNBC
Trump: Interest rates are “staying at zero because (Yellen is) obviously political and doing what Obama wants her to do. … The people that were hurt the worst are people that saved their money all their lives and thought they would live off their interest, and those people are getting just absolutely creamed. The ones that did it right. They saved their money and cut down on their mortgages and did all the things they did, everything exactly right, and now they are getting practically zero interest on the money they worked so hard for over 40 years.”
Background: During the campaign, Trump expressed support for the argument that savers and people who rely on fixed incomes were being hurt by the Fed’s low-rate policies. In response, Yellen and other Fed officials said that the low rates were needed to battle the Great Recession and that stronger economic growth would eventually benefit everyone.
Sept. 12, 2016, interview on CNBC
Trump (on Yellen): “She’s keeping (rates) artificially low to get Obama retired. Watch what is going to happen afterwards. It is a very serious problem, and I think it is very political. I think she is very political and to a certain extent, I think she should be ashamed of herself because it is not supposed to be that way.”
Background: Trump, in the same interview with CNBC, further criticized Yellen for letting politics influence her rate decisions.
Sept. 26, 2016, Trump offers comments in his first presidential debate with Hillary Clinton
Trump: “We are in a big, fat, ugly bubble, and we had better be awfully careful, and we have a Fed that’s doing political things. This Janet Yellen of the Fed. The Fed is doing political … by keeping the interest rates at this level. And believe me, the day Obama goes off and he leaves, and he goes out to the golf course for the rest of his life to play golf, when they raise interest rates, you are going to see some very bad things happen because the Fed is not doing their job. The Fed is being more political than Secretary Clinton.”
Background: Trump was attacking the Fed’s decision to keep rates at ultra-low levels for an extended period. He charged that those low rates were likely fueling bubbles in assets such as stocks and that when rates began to rise, the asset bubble would burst.
Feb. 3, 2017, meeting with business and financial executives at the White House
Trump: “We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank, because, frankly, I have so many people, friends of mine that have nice businesses that can’t borrow money. They just can’t get any money because the banks just won’t let them borrow because of the rules and regulations of Dodd-Frank.”
Background: Trump has been critical of how Yellen’s Fed and other government regulators have implemented the Dodd-Frank oversight law, which tightened financial rules after the 2008 crisis. His comments came on a day when he directed his Treasury secretary to review Dodd-Frank. Democrats have defended the law as making the financial system safer. Republicans have attacked it as imposing burdensome regulations that have made it harder for banks to loan money to creditworthy borrowers.