Donald Trump has decided that the biggest threats to America's economy are the US Federal Reserve and its chairman Jerome Powell, who "almost looks like he's happy raising interest rates".
"Every time we do something great, he raises the interest rates", Trump told the Journal.
Questioned on whether he has regrets for having chosen Jerome Powell to succeed Janet Yellen to lead the central bank, Mr. Trump replied: "it is too early to say, maybe".
If inflation were to materialize, Trump said he would rather raise rates "slower and heavier, at a later date", precisely the scenario the Fed has said it wants to avoid so that it does not inadvertently trigger a recession by tightening too aggressively. Many Fed policymakers expect higher borrowing costs to begin to restrain growth after two or three more rate hikes. Before becoming the president he had complained that the bank is moving very slowly in increasing the interest rates.
"I don't know", he said.
In recent decades, USA presidents have taken a hands-off approach to Fed policy, but some in the more distant past were occasionally vocal in their displeasure or impatience with the central bank.
Trump declined to elaborate, and a spokeswoman for the Fed declined to comment.
In the interview, Mr Trump launched a fresh assault against Fed chief and hinted that he regretted nominating Powell in the first place.
Investors are widely anticipating that the Fed will hike interest rates again in December, with Fed members noting during at late September meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee that "participants generally anticipated that further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate would most likely be consistent with a sustained economic expansion, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near 2 percent over the medium term". The act provides that a governor of the central bank can be returned if there is "a cause".
"I think the fed is making a mistake, they're so tight", he stated.
Behind the scenes, Powell has been increasing transparency at the bank and forging deep alliances with Congress, moves that have helped keep a wide base of support for the Fed as Trump goes on the attack.
It is unclear whether the president would have the authority to remove Powell.
At the same time, unlike the period prior to the 2008 financial crisis when households financed consumption with debt, the United States savings rate is now double what it was then.
Trump made his first public comments signaling dismay about his pick on July 19, when he told CNBC he was "not thrilled" about the Fed's rate increases.
The fed funds rate target is now 1.75 percent to 2 percent, and that is the rate closely tied to consumer debt, particularly credit cards, home equity lines and other adjustable-rate loans.