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Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, speaks during a news conference following a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018.
That marked their first meeting since the president nominated Powell to the post and follows months of strong criticism from Trump about his nominee and the Fed.
The central bank said in a statement it was an “informal dinner” in the White House residence “to discuss recent economic developments and the outlook for growth, employment and inflation.”
Most presidents meet at least once and sometimes more often with the Fed chair. But given the president’s past criticism, it had been unclear if and when Powell and Trump would meet. The president had extended the invitation on Friday.
A senior administration official confirmed the meeting and said it was “two on a side.”
“No pitchforks. It was much more casual than an Oval Office meeting,” the official said. “They had a very good exchange of views.”
The statement from the Fed said Powell’s comments to Trump “were consistent with his remarks at his press conference of last week.” Powell was said not to have discussed monetary policy expectations “except to stress that the path of policy will depend entirely on incoming economic information and what that means for the outlook.”
Trump has been highly critical of the Fed for raising interest rates, including calling the Fed “out of control” in October. At its January meeting, the Fed shifted policy toward a more neutral stance away from rate hikes — at least for the time being.
The president — who said in November that he was “not even a little bit happy” about his selection of Powell — has not commented on Fed policy since the shift.
Here’s the statement from the Fed about the meeting:
Statement on Chair Powell’s and Vice Chair Clarida’s meeting with the President and Treasury Secretary
At the President’s invitation, Chair Powell and Vice Chair Clarida joined the President and the Treasury Secretary for an informal dinner tonight in the White House residence, to discuss recent economic developments and the outlook for growth, employment and inflation.
Chair Powell’s comments in this setting were consistent with his remarks at his press conference of last week. He did not discuss his expectations for monetary policy, except to stress that the path of policy will depend entirely on incoming economic information and what that means for the outlook.
Finally, Chair Powell said that he and his colleagues on the FOMC will set monetary policy in order to support maximum employment and stable prices and will make those decisions based solely on careful, objective and non-political analysis.
—CNBC’s Eamon Javers contributed to this report.