Trump consults US Republican senators on Fed chief candidates


US President Donald Trump used a luncheon with Senate Republicans on Tuesday (Oct 24) to get their views on who he should tap to be the next leader of the Federal Reserve, according to senators who attended.
US President Donald Trump used a luncheon with Senate Republicans on Tuesday (Oct 24) to get their views on who he should tap to be the next leader of the Federal Reserve, according to senators who attended.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President Donald Trump used a luncheon with Senate Republicans on Tuesday (Oct 24) to get their views on who he should tap to be the next leader of the Federal Reserve, according to senators who attended.

"He said he'd make a decision soon," Senator John Cornyn, the No 2 Republican in the Senate, told reporters. Cornyn declined to say who appeared to win the most support.

But a source familiar with the matter said Trump polled the Republicans on whether they would prefer Stanford University economist John Taylor or current Fed Governor Jerome Powell for the job.

More senators preferred Taylor than Powell, the source said.

Trump also said he was considering reappointing the current head of the U.S. central bank, Janet Yellen, the source said.

In an interview with Fox Business Network that aired on Sunday, Trump said he was considering nominating both Powell and Taylor for top spots at the Fed, but added that he also liked Yellen.

White House officials have said Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn and former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh were also under consideration.

Asked who won the poll, Senator John Kennedy told reporters he did not remember. "Some people raised their hands on some names and some on others, but I don't think anybody counted them," he said.

Another senator who attended, Tim Scott, said he thought Taylor had won, Bloomberg News reported, remarks that pushed yields on US government debt higher and weighed on stocks.

Yellen, who was nominated to the top job at the Fed by Democratic President Barack Obama, has led the central bank since early 2014. Her term expires in February, but Trump could decide to renominate her.

Any nominee would have to win Senate approval.

"He mentioned he'd had a really great meeting" with Yellen, Kennedy said. "But I couldn't tell which way he was going, and its not my place or anybody else's to ask."