Are a bunch of anonymous staff economists at the Federal Reserve part of a “deep state” trying to undermine Donald Trump? The president’s chief economic adviser seems to suggest so.
Lawrence Kudlow, the top economic aide at the White House, took an unusual shot at Fed economists in a CNBC interview on Thursday extolling the resilience of the U.S. economy.
After first saying, “I don’t want to get into a lot of Fed bashing,” Kudlow proceeded to do exactly that. He took particular aim at mid-level staffers at the board’s headquarters in Washington.
“Their models are highly flawed. The deep state board staff, of course, has not been very helpful — oops, did I say that?”
Yes, he did. It was an odd moment — seemingly scripted — in otherwise run-of-the-mill interview.
Kudlow even lauded the Fed for “moving us in the right direction” by lowering interest rates. The president has been demanding the central bank cut rates for months, taking frequent shots at Chairman Jerome Powell for not acting more rapidly.
Commentators on Twitter and elsewhere were unimpressed, including notable Fed critics. Sam Bell, who’s often chided the bank in the past for being too aggressive, tweeted that Kudlow had an even lousier record as a forecaster.
The term “deep state” has gained strong currency among conservative supporters of the president. Trump and some of his advisers have repeatedly attacked lawmakers, senior government officials and career bureaucrats in Washington for what they view as illegitimate resistance to the legal authority of the president.
One frequent defender of the president, columnist Kimberly Strassel of The Wall Street Journal, characterized the Deep State in a recent article. (The Journal is a sister publication of MarketWatch.)
“The ‘deep state’—if we are to use the term—is better defined as consisting of career civil servants, who have growing power in the administrative state but work in the shadows. As government grows, so do the challenges of supervising a bureaucracy swelling in both size and power.
“Emboldened by employment rules that make it all but impossible to fire career employees, this internal civil “resistance” has proved willing to take ever more outrageous actions against the president and his policies, using the tools of both traditional and social media,” Strassel wrote.
Although Democrats laugh at the idea of an actual “deep state,” some in Washington acknowledge there’s little love for the president at federal agencies that have often been often been butt of Trump’s ridicule.
“From the start of his administration, the president demonized government employees, especially in foreign policy and intelligence. He attacked career officers as part of the ‘deep state,’ discarded their advice, and appointed Cabinet secretaries who alienated them,” wrote David A. Groham of The Atlantic.
“Now, as an impeachment inquiry rolls forward, Trump is harvesting wind from the ice he sowed.”