President Donald Trump hinted Friday that his top two candidates to chair the Federal Reserve are Fed Governor Jerome Powell and Stanford economist John Taylor — though he left the door open to other contenders.
“I’ve been seeing a number of people,” the president told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo in an interview Friday, “and most people are saying it’s down to two: Mr. Taylor; Mr. Powell.”
POLITICO reported Thursday that Powell is the leading candidate to chair the central bank after current Chair Janet Yellen’s term ends in January. The president has interviewed five finalists: Powell, Taylor, Yellen, former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.
White House spokeswoman Natalie Strom said Thursday that all five candidates are “at the same level of consideration,” and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday was careful not to step on Trump’s forthcoming announcement.
“We still don’t have an announcement on that,” Sanders told reporters.
Asked about the possibility of Powell and Taylor both joining the Fed as chair and vice chair, Sanders said it’s “certainly under consideration.”
“But he hasn’t ruled out a number of options, and he’ll have an announcement on that soon, in the coming days,” she added.
Trump told Fox Business Network that he’s met with Yellen, who officials say was at the White House again on Friday for a routine meeting with Cohn.
“I also met with Janet Yellen, who I like a lot,” said Trump, who in the past has been critical of the Fed chair. “I really like her a lot. So I have three people that I’m looking at, and there are a couple of others. I’d say I will make my decision very shortly.”
Sanders, when asked on Friday about the warming relationship between Trump and Yellen, credited “the opportunity to spend some time directly communicating with one another.”
“But beyond that, again, I’m not gonna weigh any further into this process and where we are, other than the fact that the president will make an announcement on it soon,” Sanders said. “As you know, I’m not gonna get ahead of a big announcement like that that the president himself will make, but we’ll keep you posted when we’re ready to roll that out.”