- Several 2024 GOP presidential candidates have been critical of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and the monetary policy under his leadership.
- Powell’s term is up in 2026, and some Republican presidential hopefuls have suggested that, if elected, they’d remove him, while others said that they would not reappoint the chairman.
- “I would fire him. And the reason is that he has raised interest rates at the wrong time. I think it’s been more aggressive than it needed to be,” former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson told Bloomberg.
Several Republican presidential candidates have an overwhelmingly negative view of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and have pledged to either remove him or appoint a new leader if elected president in 2024.
The Fed has raised its benchmark federal funds rate 11 times since March 2022, bringing the rate to a range of 5.25% and 5.50% in an attempt to cool inflation and the economy. Powell’s term ends in 2026, and Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy have both said that they’d oust the chair, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence said that they would not reappoint him if elected, according to their respective campaigns and public comments on the subject.
“Well, of course he has a term but I would like to see a new leader into the Fed,” Hutchinson told Bloomberg on Sept. 12, which his campaign pointed the Daily Caller News Foundation toward. “I would fire him. And the reason is that he has raised interest rates at the wrong time. I think it’s been more aggressive than it needed to be.”
Inflation peaked for the Biden administration in June 2022, reaching 9.1%, and eventually came down to a low of 3.0% in June. Inflation has since begun to rise again, increasing 3.2% year-over-year in July and 3.7% in August.
“[Ramaswamy has] spoken pretty extensively about reforming the Fed by cutting >90% of the Fed’s headcount & returning its focus to a narrow mandate: stabilize the U.S. dollar as a unit of measurement,” Tricia McLaughlin, campaign spokesperson, told the DCNF. “It’s a critical step to unleashing GDP growth & avoiding financial crises.”
The chair of the Fed has never been removed before the end of their term, with the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 requiring “cause” to remove someone from the position, according to Fox Business.
“I don’t think he’s done a good job,” DeSantis told CNBC’s Brian Sullivan on Aug. 14. “I mean, I think from COVID on they put too much money into the economy. That drove the inflation. But then they said it was going to be transitory, that we had to ‘unlearn Milton Friedman.’ No. When you start doing something like that, in about 18 to 20 months you are going to see inflation. So they were behind the ball on that, and then they’ve hiked so much now it’s caused a lot of problems in the economy and could end up driving us into a recession.”
Though Trump nominated Powell in 2017, he wouldn’t reappoint Powell to the position if he returns to the White House in 2024.
“I would not reappoint him. I thought he was always late, whether it was good or bad, but he was always late,” Trump told Fox Business’ Larry Kudlow on Aug. 17. “I was surprised he was reappointed — probably got reappointed because they knew I didn’t like him much.”
President Joe Biden reappointed Powell for another term in 2021, according to a White House press release.
Pence floated a former Trump nominee as a possible contender that he’d appoint to the Fed if elected president in 2024, according to Bloomberg.
“Jerome Powell’s time is over,” Pence told radio host Erik Erikson on Aug. 18 per Bloomberg, which his campaign pointed the DCNF toward. “I’d love to see somebody like Judy Shelton appointed to the Federal Reserve.”
Trump nominated Shelton to the Fed’s Board of Governors in 2020, but it didn’t pass the Senate, according to Bloomberg. Trump re-nominated Shelton just before he left office in 2021.
“I believe the time has come for us to end the dual mandate of the Fed and say that the Federal Reserve ought to be focused exclusively on the integrity of the dollar, fighting against inflation,” Pence added, according to the outlet.
The Fed currently operates under a dual mandate, which is to promote price stability by keeping the inflation rate to a target of 2%, while also maintaining maximum sustainable employment by keeping unemployment low and job creation high, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
The Fed will have its next Federal Open Market Committee meeting starting on Tuesday, and there will be an announcement Wednesday about whether there will be another rate hike. Powell noted at the Jackson Hole Economic Summit in August that the Fed may continue to raise rates if high inflation persists, or there are signs of a hot economy or labor market.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and conservative radio personality Larry Elder have not made it clear what they would do as president with regard to Powell’s position.
Christie has floated the idea of keeping Powell as Fed chair if elected president in 2024 and instead blamed Trump and Biden for inflation, according to CNBC.
“It depends on how he does from here out,” Christie told CNBC on Sept. 5, which his campaign referred the DCNF to.
Elder did not comment on Powell’s position, but blamed “reckless spending” for being in a position to consider replacing the Fed chair.
“Well, but for the reckless spending and the ‘quantitative easing,’ aka the printing of money, we wouldn’t be in this situation,” Elder told the DCNF in a statement. “We need to go back to the gold standard and pass an amendment to set spending to a fixed percentage of GDP.”
The RealClearPolitics (RCP) average for a 2024 national Republican primary, based on polls conducted between Aug. 24 and Sept. 14, indicates Trump is leading the crowded field by over 40 points, followed by DeSantis at 12.7% and Ramaswamy at 7.2%. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley garnered 5.7% support and Pence received 4.5%, while all other 2024 hopefuls garnered less than 3% support.
The Federal Reserve Board declined to comment. Trump, Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former Texas Rep. Will Hurd and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
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