Kristian Rouz — US President Donald Trump says he's happy with the job performance of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a decisive dismissal of a report claiming otherwise. Trump's statement comes after allegations that he was critical of Mnuchin over the latter's support for Fed Chair Jerome Powell during his nomination earlier this year.
In a tweet Friday, Trump criticised the report from the Wall Street Journal claiming the President's dissatisfaction with the Federal Reserve has spread to the Treasury Department as well. The WSJ said Secretary Mnuchin had recommended that Trump appoint Powell as a replacement for then-outgoing Fed Chair Janet Yellen in early 2018.
Subsequently, in the wake of Trump's criticism of Powell's policies at the Fed, the report claimed, the President has become frustrated with the Treasury Secretary as well.
"I thought you told me he (Powell) was going to be good," Trump allegedly said to Mnuchin, according to the report.
But Trump refuted such claims, labelling the WSJ as 'fake news'.
The Fake News is showing old footage of people climbing over our Ocean Area Fence. This is what it really looks like — no climbers anymore under our Administration! pic.twitter.com/CD4ltRePML— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 19 ноября 2018 г.
Over the past few weeks, a flurry of reports — and Trump himself — have stated that the President is unhappy with the Fed's policy of raising base interest rates. Trump said Powell's policy of rate hikes is too aggressive and could choke off the robust pace of GDP growth.
"I think the Fed is making a mistake," Trump said last month. "They are so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy."
In its report, the WSJ referenced unnamed sources — which is likely to add to Trump's frustration with overall media reporting on his administration. Over the past few months, Trump has repeatedly urged the media to avoid citing anonymous sources, even suggesting that some media outlets could be 'making up' their stories.
Additionally, the WSJ claimed Trump is concerned with the recent turbulence in US financial markets, and is blaming Mnuchin for the elevated volatility. This comes as the benchmark S&P 500 Index has so far fallen by 10.2 percent since its all-time high posted on 20 September — a sign America's stock market has entered a period of correction.
Nonetheless, the WSJ also said the Trump administration has not confirmed the report's claims in its official statement.
"The president has been long clear about his views on the Fed," White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said, according to the WSJ. Walters reportedly stressed that Mnuchin "has been effective in carrying out the president's agenda."
The speculation over a possible rift between Trump and Mnuchin comes amid allegations the US President could reshuffle his cabinet in the aftermath of the recent midterm elections.
"Administrations makes changes, usually, after midterms. And probably we'll be right in that category as well," Trump said. "I think it's very customary."
According to CNN, several top administration and cabinet officials could leave their positions over the coming weeks. These could include White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
CNN's report has yet to be corroborated, as Nielsen, in particular, has recently been quite active dealing with the mounting security concerns at the US southern border.
It remains to be seen whether Trump indeed embarks on a major reshuffle at the helm of the US governance, and, if so, who would be his likely picks to replace the supposedly outgoing officials.