Trump, Mnuchin are on different wavelengths about a strong U.S. dollar

Trump says that his treasury secretary's earlier remarks about the dollar "were taken out of context"

By Matthew Rozsa
Published January 26, 2018 10:16AM (EST)
 (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are trying to walk back controversial comments made by Mnuchin earlier this week about the strength of the American dollar.

"The dollar is going to get stronger and stronger, and ultimately I want to see a strong dollar. Our country is becoming so economically strong again and strong in other ways, too," Trump told CNBC on Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Trump's comments were quite different from what Mnuchin told reporters earlier this week. After reporters told him the dollar fell 10 percent in value over the past year, Mnuchin said that "a weaker dollar is good for us as it relates to trade and opportunities" and insisted that the decline was "not a concern of ours at all."

While saying that he wanted a strong dollar, Trump insisted that other nations were taking advantage of America when it came to trade policy — even though a weak dollar would lead to more goods exported from America

"Ultimately the dollar, because our country is going to get so much stronger economically, if you look at what's happened to our country over the –" Trump began before trailing off. "Look, I've been talking about this with you for 25 years. Trade. It started with Japan, morphed into China, now it's China, Japan, it's everybody. And everybody has taken advantage of our country. They have ripped our country off."

Mnuchin was much more concise in trying to tone down his initial anti-strong dollar comments during an appearance on CNBC's "Squawk Box," claiming that his remarks were made "in a press gaggle in the morning. What I said was actually very even-handed and consistent with what I said before."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Davos Dollar Donald Trump Steven Mnuchin