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Trump suggests that defense secretary may be planning to quit

By Ros Krasny • Oct 15, 2018 at 11:00 AM

WASHINGTON –– President Donald Trump hinted that Defense Secretary James Mattis may be planning to quit his administration, and described the former U.S. Marine Corps general as “sort of a Democrat.”

In an excerpt from CBS’ “60 Minutes, Trump talked about the level of turnover in his administration after almost two years, and suggested that there could be more.

“There are some people that I’m not happy with. I have some people that I’m not thrilled with. And I have other people that I’m beyond thrilled with,” Trump said.

Mattis “hasn’t told me” that he plans to leave, Trump said, and didn’t directly answer the question of whether he’d like the Pentagon chief to quit.

“I had lunch with him two days ago. I have a very good relationship with him. It could be that he is. I think he’s sort of a Democrat, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said. “He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves. Everybody. People leave. That’s Washington.”

Mattis was one of Trump’s first Cabinet picks after the 2016 election. He was long seen as a force for stability in foreign policy in an administration that has had to manage crises from North Korea to Syria under a president who prides himself on his unpredictability.

But Mattis has been on the defensive after excerpts from author Bob Woodward’s book “Fear” depicted the publicly taciturn military man as being critical of Trump in private.

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Kudlow says Trump respects Fed independence despite criticism

By Christopher Condon and Ben Brody - Bloomberg News (TNS)

WASHINGTON ––White House economic director Larry Kudlow said Sunday that President Donald Trump is concerned that higher interest rates might derail the U.S. economy, but wasn’t trying to interfere with Federal Reserve independence when he criticized monetary policy as “crazy.”

“The president, as a successful businessman and investor, knows a lot about these topics and he’s giving his opinion,” Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday.” “His concern is the Fed might move too quickly, and might choke off the recovery.”

Trump took a shot at the central bank Wednesday, saying that the Fed was “going loco” with interest-rate increases. He doubled down Thursday, blaming the nation’s “out of control” central bank for a sixth straight day of losses that wiped out much of the year’s gains in the U.S. stock market.

The Fed has raised rates six times since Trump’s inauguration in response to low unemployment and more rapid economic growth, but it has proceeded more cautiously than in past economic expansions.

Trump’s remarks, which escalated the severity of complaints he started making about the Fed in August, led to new complaints that the central bank’s independence is under threat. Kudlow denied that.

“He never said to the Fed, ‘I want you to change this or to change that,’” Kudlow said. “He respects the Fed’s independence.”

Asked on ABC’s “This Week” whether he thought Fed policy was out of control, Kudlow said he doesn’t, and that Trump isn’t trying to influence policy.

“He is not telling them or mandating them to change their strategy, he’s not telling them to change their policy,” Kudlow said. “He’s just raising a very important issue.”

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©2018 Bloomberg News

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