President Donald Trump’s closest advisors are steering him toward choosing either Stanford economist John Taylor or Federal Reserve Board Governor Jerome Powell to be the next Fed chief, according to several people familiar with the process.
Trump has not yet made up his mind, the people said, though he has publicly promised to announce a decision soon. Besides Taylor and Powell, his shortlist of five candidates also includes the current Fed Chair Janet Yellen, former Fed governor Kevin Warsh and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.
On Thursday, Trump conducted his final interview with the Fed chair contenders, sitting down with Yellen at the White House for half an hour. Yellen, whose term as central bank chief ends on Feb. 3, came across as polished during their meeting.
A portrait of deliberations on the next Fed chairman emerged from seven people familiar with the process who shared information on condition of anonymity. The president’s own preferences aren’t yet clear.
An announcement from Trump is unlikely to come this week, according to two White House officials. He hasn’t yet had time to step back and assess all the information about each candidate, one person familiar with the process said. He’s expected to unveil his selection before he leaves Nov. 3 for an 11-day trip to Asia and Hawaii.
Interviews With Pence
Vice President Mike Pence and his aides and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are lining up behind appointing either Taylor or Powell, according to two people familiar with the process.
All the candidates performed well in their meetings with the president over the past several weeks, according to two people. Cohn never officially interviewed with Trump because the president already knows his top economic adviser quite well and doesn’t think it is necessary, they said.
The interview with Yellen was attended by Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, White House Personnel Director Johnny DeStefano and special assistant to the president Andrew Olmem.
Pence wasn’t present for Yellen’s interview, though he did sit in on Taylor’s session with the president. He also met separately with Powell and Warsh at Trump’s request, according to a person familiar with the matter.