Trump taps Gary Cohn and incumbent Janet Yellen as frontrunners for Fed chair

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 July, 2017, 12:21pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 July, 2017, 10:34pm

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday he is considering either nominating Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve chair for a second four-year term or replacing her with somebody else, possibly his economic adviser Gary Cohn.

Speaking in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump said he has “a lot of respect” for Yellen, whose term expires on February 3, and that “she is in the running to stay”.

The paper also quoted Trump as saying, “I’ve gained great respect for Gary working with him,” in reference to the director of the White House National Economic Council, who formerly worked for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. “So Gary certainly would be in the mix.”

During the presidential campaign, Trump criticised Yellen for colluding with his predecessor Barack Obama to keep interest rates low and said he would likely replace her when her term expires.

But he said of Yellen in the latest interview, “I like her demeanour. I think she’s done a good job.” Trump also said, “I’d like to see rates stay low. She’s historically been a low-interest-rate person.”

Trump said there are “two or three” other contenders for the world’s most influential central banker, but declined to name them, according to the paper.

The president said he would wait until the end of the year before making a decision on the new Fed chief, who must gain Senate confirmation.

Earlier this month, the US political site Politico, citing four people close to the matter, said Trump is unlikely to renominate Yellen and that Cohn is the leading candidate to succeed her.

Former Fed governor Kevin Warsh, Glenn Hubbard, who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, and John Taylor, a former undersecretary of the Treasury for international affairs, were among those mentioned as potential candidates for the job, according to Politico.