By Kate Davidson

Life just got a whole lot more uncomfortable for the Federal Reserve.

In the waning weeks of Donald Trump's campaign, the U.S. central bank found itself in the crosshairs of the GOP candidate, who accused the Fed and Chairwoman Janet Yellen of playing politics with interest rates. He even featured Ms. Yellen in his final campaign ad in which he railed against powerful "global special interests" that drive economic decisions.

While the Fed has managed to defend itself against a growing chorus of criticism in recent years, Mr. Trump's victory on Tuesday means it will no longer have the help of a friendly White House. That could usher in an unprecedented level of political pressure, and pave the way for potential changes to the Fed's structure and governance.

What would Mr. Trump do exactly? It's clear that the incoming commander-in-chief is no fan of the Fed or Ms. Yellen, but his views have wavered. Here is a roundup of what he has said about the central bank, its policies and its leader:

ON INTEREST RATES

Nov. 3, 2015:

"Janet Yellen should have raised the rates. She's not doing it because the Obama administration and the president doesn't want her to."

May 5, 2016, to CNBC:

"I am a low interest-rate person. If we raise interest rates and if the dollar starts getting too strong, we're going to have some very major problems.

"Now, if inflation starts coming in -- and we don't see any signs of that, but -- if inflation starts coming in, that's a different story. Then you have to go up and you have to slow things down. But right now I am for low interest rates, and I think we keep them low, and we have to compete."

May 9, to The Wall Street Journal:

"Obviously, if inflation rears its ugly head, you can no longer -- you know, you have to do something about that. And, one of the things you're doing about that is raising interest rates is slowing things down.

"If interest rates went up, our economy is not doing well at all. And it's going to hurt the economy very badly. If interest rates went up, it would be a disaster."

Sept. 5:

Asked about a potential rate increase in September, Mr. Trump said: "They're keeping the rates down so that everything else doesn't go down. We have a very false economy.

"At some point the rates are going to have to change. The only thing that is strong is the artificial stock market."

Sept. 12:

"The people that were hurt the worst (by low rates) are people that saved their money all their lives and thought they would live offtheir interests and those people are getting just absolutely creamed.... The interest rates are kept down by President Obama."

"It's a tremendous problem for the country and we are talking about rates that are practically at zero.

"I would want to have a policy where we can start to at least gently reduce debt, we can get things under control, because right now, it's not under control. What happens if interest rates go up fairly substantially? And with all of the money we have and we are borrowing, you know what that does to our balance sheet?"

Sept. 26, at the first presidential debate:

"When they raise interest rates, you're going to see some very bad things happen, because they're not doing their job.

"We are in a big, fat, ugly bubble."

ON JANET YELLEN

Nov. 3, 2015:

"Janet Yellen is highly political and she's not raising rates for a very specific reason, because [President Barack] Obama told her not to, because he wants to be out playing golf in a year from now and he wants to be doing other things and he doesn't want to see a big bubble burst during his administration."

May 5, 2016, to CNBC:

"She is not a Republican. When her time is up, I would most likely replace her because of the fact that I think it would be appropriate." (Her term as chairwoman expires Feb. 3, 2018. Her term as a member of the Fed's Board of Governors expires Jan. 31, 2024.)

May 9, to The Wall Street Journal:

"Look, she's got a term to go. I have great respect for her. I don't know her but I have great respect for her. But I would imagine that we would put a Republican in that position."

May 18, to Reuters:

Mr. Trump said he was "not an enemy" of Ms. Yellen, adding, "I'm not a person who thinks Janet Yellen is doing a bad job.

"I happen to be a low-interest-rate person unless inflation rears its ugly head, which can happen at some point." He said an inflation spike "doesn't seem like it's happening soon."

Sept. 12, to CNBC:

"She's keeping them artificially low to get Obama retired. Watch what is going to happen afterwards. It is a very serious problem. And I think it is very political. I think she is very political and to a certain extent, I think she should be ashamed of herself. But it is not supposed to be that way.

"I used to hope that the Fed was independent. And the Fed is obviously not independent. It's obviously not even close to being independent."

Sept. 26, at the first presidential debate

"Janet Yellen of the Fed -- the Fed is doing political things by keeping the interest rates at this level....The Fed is being more political than Hillary Clinton."

Write to Kate Davidson at kate.davidson@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 09, 2016 16:07 ET (21:07 GMT)

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