President Donald Trump gave a wide-ranging, lengthy interview with the Washington Post on Wednesday, hitting on a number of topics including placing blame on the Federal Reserve for the past two months of stock market woes.
‘Not Even a Little Bit Happy’ With Fed Chair Powell
Trump once again teed off on embattled Fed Chair Jerome Powell over the central bank’s raising of its benchmark interest rate. When asked about declines on the stock market, he slammed higher interest rates and other Fed policies. However, he insisted he isn’t worried about a recession.
“I’m doing deals, and I’m not being accommodated by the Fed,” Trump said. “They’re making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.
“So far, I’m not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay (Jerome Powell). Not even a little bit. And I’m not blaming anybody, but I’m just telling you I think that the Fed is way off-base with what they’re doing.”
Regarding the stock market volatility, Trump blamed Democrats, the Chinese government and the central bank for any perceived economic weaknesses.
On Climate Change Report
Trump dismissed his own administration’s climate change report released last week on Black Friday (when the least possible amount of eyeballs would be paying attention because of the holiday). Trump said “I don’t see” climate change as man-made and that he does not believe the scientific consensus.
“One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers,” Trump said. “You look at our air and our water, and it’s right now at a record clean.”
The president added of climate change, “As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it.”
The report, the National Climate Assessment, found that climate change poses a severe threat to the health of Americans and the U.S. economy, as well as the country’s infrastructure and natural resources.
On Bringing Home Troops in the Middle East
Trump said he is open to the idea of bringing U.S. troops home from the Middle East, citing lower oil prices as a good reason, while also noting the recent murder of three U.S. troops in a roadside explosion in Afghanistan.
“Now, are we going to stay in that part of the world? One reason to is Israel,” Trump said. “Oil is becoming less and less of a reason because we’re producing more oil now than we’ve ever produced. So, you know, all of a sudden it gets to a point where you don’t have to stay there.”
Trump also said he is considering a visit to troops in the region soon, possibly before Christmas.
“At the right time I will,” he said of a war-zone visit, which would be his first as president.
On Saudi Arabia and the Khashoggi Murder
Trump again questioned the CIA’s assessment that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for ordering the murder of the Washington Post journalist, citing his repeated denials that he had anything to do with it.
“Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t,” Trump said. “But he denies it. And people around him deny it. And the CIA did not say affirmatively he did it, either, by the way. I’m not saying that they’re saying he didn’t do it, but they didn’t say it affirmatively.”
Trump said he could meet with Salman at this weekend’s G20 meeting in Argentina.