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Trump Says He'll Decide on New Fed Chair in Two to Three Weeks

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President Donald Trump said Friday he’ll decide within three weeks on a nominee to lead the U.S. central bank, one of the most consequential economic decisions he will make since taking office.

“I’ve had four meetings for Fed chairman, and I’ll be making a decision over the next two or three weeks,” Trump told reporters before boarding the presidential helicopter at the White House. He’s traveling to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey for the weekend.

He interviewed at least two candidates this week as he picked up the pace of his search for a Fed chair. Among his options is reappointing the current chair, Janet Yellen, whose term ends in February.

Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met Thursday with former Federal Reserve governor Kevin Warsh to discuss the job, two administration officials said. 

Trump and Mnuchin also interviewed Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell on Wednesday, a White House official said.

Financial stocks rose and bonds fell on the report of Warsh’s meeting.

CEO John Allison and Columbia University economist Glenn Hubbard. Trump has said he’s also considering White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.

Powell had been regarded as a long-shot candidate, but not out of the running for Fed chair. 

The only Republican currently on the Board of Governors, Powell, 64, has a a solid reputation among lawmakers from both parties and has ably led the Fed’s regulatory efforts, albeit on a temporary basis, since Daniel Tarullo retired in April. 

Before joining the Fed, Powell spent eight years at private equity firm Carlyle Group. He also served as a senior official at the U.S. Treasury under President George H. W. Bush.

The Fed declined to comment.

Cohn and Yellen, whose Fed leadership Trump has complimented, remain potential candidates and the president’s advisers are trying to assure that he has a range of options, one official said. 

The selection is one of the most important before Trump, with the central bank responsible for safeguarding the U.S. economy and looked to as a source of global financial stability.

“In terms of policy, I think it is fair to say that Warsh is less dovish than Yellen,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities in New York. “He would be less in favor of fine tuning and more sympathetic to the Fed’s role simply being to operate quietly in the background and let the private sector drive things forward.”

The Wall Street Journal reported both meetings earlier.

As a Fed governor from 2006 to 2011, Warsh drew on Wall Street experience at Morgan Stanley to play a key behind-the-scenes role in efforts to quell the financial crisis. 

He’s been a vocal critic of the Fed’s monetary stimulus policies since the crisis, arguing the approach hasn’t been effective and may have dangerous side effects.

“I’m confused frankly about Fed’s normalization strategy,” he told Bloomberg Television’s Vonnie Quinn and Mike McKee in May. “My judgment is, ultimately the Fed’s biggest job is to mitigate the risks of an exponential shock. I see way too much complacency.”

His candidacy is being taken seriously enough that he’s also attracted opposition from left-leaning activists, particularly for his cheer-leading prior to the financial crisis of Wall Street innovations.

A close associate of hedge-fund billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller, he argues that Fed policy makers are too complacent about mounting risks in financial markets. 

Warsh, 47, was a member of a business advisory council established by Trump and led by Blackstone Group LP CEO Stephen Schwarzman. He is married to Jane Lauder, daughter of Trump friend Ronald Lauder and a global brand president at cosmetic company founded by her grandmother, Estee Lauder.

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