During the Federal Reserve’s policy pivot in 2019, President Donald Trump relied heavily on his Twitter account to call for more aggressive rate cutting, later demanding that the central bank push rates into negative territory.
An analysis of tweets mined through the Trump Twitter archive as of Jan. 24, 2020 shows that the president tweeted about the Fed 100 times since nominating Jerome Powell to lead the central bank (106 when counting the six repeat tweets deleted due to typos).
A majority of the tweets (53%) were sent before 10 a.m. ET. Trump also sent almost 30% of his tweets during the 11 days leading up to a policy decision referred to as the “Fed blackout,” when policymakers are not permitted to make public remarks.
Almost half (48) of Trump’s Fed-related tweets were sent in advance of the Fed’s Sept.18 meeting, in which Powell delivered the second of three rate cuts in 2019. Trump appeared to be jawboning a Fed that had begun easing amid escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China.
....My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2019
The Fed ultimately ended 2019 with interest rates in the target range of 1.5% to 1.75% and signaled that rates may not move at all through 2020.
Trump has since pulled back on the Fed. After the Fed’s last rate cut on Oct. 30, Trump has only tweeted about the Fed and monetary policy 11 times. He has mostly reiterated his call for negative interest rates and lamented the strength of the U.S. dollar.
Powell told Congress in October that negative interest rates “would certainly not be appropriate in the current environment.”
Would be sooo great if the Fed would further lower interest rates and quantitative ease. The Dollar is very strong against other currencies and there is almost no inflation. This is the time to do it. Exports would zoom!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 17, 2019
Twice last year, once in February and then again in November, Powell met with Trump at the White House. A tweet from the president recalled the November meeting as “very good & cordial.”
Just finished a very good & cordial meeting at the White House with Jay Powell of the Federal Reserve. Everything was discussed including interest rates, negative interest, low inflation, easing, Dollar strength & its effect on manufacturing, trade with China, E.U. & others, etc.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2019
Two weeks later Trump again bashed Powell on Twitter, blasting the Fed for what he sees as “ridiculous policies.”
Trump’s monetary policy-related tweets since placing Powell at the Fed are archived below:
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve will meet again on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
Brian Cheung is a reporter covering the banking industry and the intersection of finance and policy for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter @bcheungz.