President Donald Trump said on Thursday that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s comments had been “taken out of context” when he contended that a “weaker dollar” would boost U.S. trade efforts, adding that he expected to see the U.S. currency get “stronger and stronger.”
“I think they were taken out of context, because I read his exact statement,” Trump told CNBC in Davos, Switzerland, according to excerpts of an interview set to air on Friday. The president added that the dollar’s value “should also be based on the strength of the country.”
Mnuchin broke with longstanding tradition on Wednesday during a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos when he told reporters that he would welcome a weaker dollar.
“Obviously, a weaker dollar is good for us as it relates to trade and opportunities,” Mnuchin said, adding that recent declines in the value of the dollar relative to other currencies were “not a concern of ours at all.”
U.S. presidents and treasury chiefs have consistently backed a strong dollar in public, even as some have privately argued for the merits of a softer dollar.
Pressed to address the remarks during a Thursday morning appearance on Fox Business, Mnuchin said he was “surprised” by the reaction they garnered.
He added: “My comments on the dollar have been completely consistent with what I’ve said over the last year, but for whatever reason they’ve been amplified in the last two days.”
Mnuchin stressed that the dollar’s value was “one of the most liquid trading markets in the world” and that “where the dollar is in the short term is not a concern of ours.”
The president, during his first full day at the global economic summit in Davos, said he believed the dollar would organically strengthen in response to gains in the U.S. economy.
“We are doing so well,” Trump said. “Our country is becoming so economically strong again that the dollar is going to get stronger and stronger, and ultimately I want to see a strong dollar.”