There’s a distinct pattern to Donald Trump’s relationships with the people he appoints to important government positions. He praises himself for his decision to appoint them, since they’re the greatest appointee in the history of the world, until they’re no longer useful to him or, if they dare, they say something negative about his policies and ideas. Suddenly, it’s like that appointee appeared as if by magic in the position they hold, because Trump can’t figure out how they got there considering how utterly incompetent they are.
For reference, see: Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, John Kelly, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, and Anthony Scaramucci.
President Donald Trump again ripped into Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Friday, questioning whether he is a “bigger enemy” to the United States than Chinese President Xi Jinping. https://t.co/knMbudIUM8 pic.twitter.com/Cwc7nG3Mtl
— CNBC (@CNBC) August 23, 2019
Most recently, Trump’s ire has been focused on one appointee that he can’t outright fire: the Fed chair. Jerome Powell was appointed by Trump in 2017, when he was described by the president as wise, strong, committed, and smart. Now that he won’t just do whatever Trump orders, he’s an “enemy” and too incompetent for the job. Sound familiar?
‘Trump, departing the White House to travel to the G7 summit in France, told reporters, “I’m not happy with Jay Powell.”
‘His comments continued a war of words against Powell that, along with retaliatory tariffs imposed on U.S. goods by China, helped trigger a sharp drop on Friday in the U.S. stock market.’
#FlashbackFriday @realDonaldTrump on Jay Powell – “He’s strong, he’s committed, he’s smart… I am confident that with Jay as a wise steward of the Federal Reserve, it will have the leadership it needs in the years to come.” – Nov 2, 2017 https://t.co/LlCdIYxQm1
— Kurt Bardella (@kurtbardella) August 23, 2019
The play, on Trump’s part, is fairly obvious. As indicators of an economic recession are heralded by economists, Trump desperately needs a scapegoat. There’s no way that his own policies, including his ill-advised trade war with China, could be responsible for breaking the long streak of economic upturn that resulted from the presidency of Barack Obama. Should a downturn come, Trump needs to set up a foil.
‘I don’t think he’s much of a chess player, but I’ve got him so, you know, that’s what I have…Do I want him to resign? Let me put it this way: If he did, I wouldn’t stop him.’
Trump cannot actually force Powell to stay, so he can’t stop Powell from either staying or going. Powell, for his part, says he was appointed to a four-year position as the Fed chair and isn’t going anywhere.
‘Powell was in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday for a meeting with other central bankers. He said the Fed would “act as appropriate” to keep the U.S. economy healthy in a deteriorating global economy but stopped short of committing to a series of rate cuts sought by Trump.’
Who selected Jerome Powell? https://t.co/kLFAsq6T1j
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 23, 2019
Featured image screenshot via YouTube