President Trump may be breaking with White House norms when he blames the Federal Reserve for this week's stock market selloff, but his frustration doesn't surprise the head of JPMorgan Chase.
"I've never seen a president who wanted interest rates to go up," Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of the largest U.S. lender, told reporters on Friday.
Indeed, American presidents typically win office based in part on promises to deliver or sustain growth, and the central bank sometimes has to curb that through higher interest rates to keep the economy from overheating. The tension between the two goals ensnared former President Richard Nixon and then-Fed chairman Arthur Burns as long ago as the early 1970s, when Nixon worried that high rates might impede growth during his re-election campaign.
[EXCLUSIVE: Trump takes credit for economy, blames 'overly aggressive' Fed for stock market]
This year alone, the Fed's monetary policy committee has raised rates three times, to a range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent, as the unemployment shrank to a nearly 50-year low and GOP-led tax cuts fueled corporate investment. That led to sharp drops in the major U.S. indexes this week, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average alone dropping 832 points on Wednesday, followed by another slide on Thursday.
"It's a correction I think is caused by the Fed raising interest rates," Trump told reporters afterward. "We have interest rates going up at a clip that's much faster than a lot of people, including myself, would have anticipated. I think the Fed is out of control with what they're doing."
Still, Trump said he has no plans to fire Jay Powell, whom he chose to succeed former Chair Janet Yellen earlier this year. Such a move would be difficult, since the Federal Reserve Act was designed to ensure the institution's independence: Fed chairs serve a four-year term and can only be removed from the board "for cause."
The White House has long acknowledged that the Fed is an independent institution, said JPMorgan Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake, and the central bank's decisions are data-driven. The rate increases so far have been in line with JPMorgan's expectations as well as those of a wide range of Wall Street economists.
"We think Chairman Powell is doing an excellent job," Dimon said.