In November 2017, President Donald Trump — who campaigned on a promise to appoint “only the best and most serious people” — appointed Jerome Powell to be chair of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. On Friday, he accused Powell of being possibly a bigger “enemy” of the American people than even the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.

In late October 2017, he released a hype video promising to appoint a Fed chair who he said “hopefully will do a fantastic job.”

“I have somebody very specific in mind. I think everybody will be very impressed. But most importantly, I think at the end of eight years, you really will be impressed because things are looking good,” Trump promised.

View this post on Instagram

Big announcement next week! Together, we will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! #USA

A post shared by President Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on Oct 27, 2017 at 1:42pm PDT

Days later, he introduced Powell in a Rose Garden announcement ceremony and formally nominated him for the job. “Mr. Powell has demonstrated steady leadership, sound judgment, and policy expertise,” his released statement bragged. “Mr. Powell will bring to the Federal Reserve a unique background of Government service and business experience.”


But now that Trump’s trade war with China and his not-very-stimulative 2017 Trump tax cuts for the rich and corporations have brought the nation to the precipice of a Trump recession, Trump is seeking to convince Americans that the buck stops everywhere but his own desk.

Powell said Friday that the president’s trade war was harming the nation’s economy and that there were limits to how much he could mitigate that with monetary policy.

“Trade policy uncertainty seems to be playing a role in the global slowdown and in weak manufacturing and capital spending in the United States,” he said in a speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “[W]hile monetary policy is a powerful tool that works to support consumer spending, business investment, and public confidence, it cannot provide a settled rulebook for international trade.”

Without acknowledging that he himself selected Powell for the job, Trump smeared him on Twitter as an enemy of the American people — his standard playbook for anyone who does not give him his way.

….My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2019

“My only question is,” he tweeted, “who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?” Xi Jinping is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and the country’s president.


In Trump’s initial attempt to insult Powell, he misspelled his own Fed chair’s name as “Powel.” He later deleted that tweet and corrected it.


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