President Donald Trump continued his attacks on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Friday, calling Powell an “enemy” as the Fed resists drastically altering monetary policy at the president’s whim.
In a tweet misspelling the chairman’s name, Trump, who nominated Powell to chair the central bank in 2017, questioned whether Powell is a greater enemy of America than Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Trump later deleted the tweet and replaced it with one correctly spelling Powell’s name.
The president’s invective seems to have been inspired by China’s announcement Friday that it will impose additional tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. goods, ramping up the ongoing trade war.
It’s also possible Trump was responding to statements Powell made during a meeting with bankers Friday morning. Although Powell reportedly said the Federal Reserve was prepared to cut interest rates if necessary, the chairman was noncommittal about when these cuts could come or how steep they would be.
After setting his sights on Powell, Trump posted a series of tweets in which he said the U.S. would be “better off” without China and “ordered” U.S. companies to find alternative business partners.
U.S. stock markets, responding to the uncertainty of Trump’s “order” that businesses cease relations with China, hemorrhaged almost immediately after Trump’s tweets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average in particular had plunged more than 500 points by early afternoon.
Following his tweetstorm, Trump met with trade advisers Peter Navarro and Robert Lighthizer, according to a report from CNBC.
This latest eruption comes amid recent reports about a slowing U.S. economy and the president’s concerns that it may hinder his reelection chances in 2020.