President Donald Trump plans to announce his choice for the next Federal Reserve chairman on Thursday, the day before he departs for a trip to Asia, a White House official said. The president is leaning toward picking Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell to lead the U.S. central bank, according to three people familiar with the the matter. Other candidates on his shortlist include current Fed Chair Janet Yellen, Stanford University economist John Taylor, former Fed governor Kevin Warsh and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.
Trump teased the announcement Friday by tweeting out a video promoting the event to his 41 million Twitter followers. “People are anxiously awaiting my decision as to who the next head of the Fed will be,” Trump said in the Instagram video. “It will be a person who hopefully will do a fantastic job. And I have somebody very specific in mind.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had said last week Trump would make the announcement before he departs for Hawaii and Asia on Friday.
The schedule means the announcement would come after the conclusion of Fed officials’ second to last monetary policy meeting of the year. The central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. A nomination for Powell is seen by investors as signaling continuity for monetary policy. Speculation he will ultimately be Trump’s pick on Friday drove them to buy U.S. stocks and bonds.
Trump’s advisers have been steering him toward nominating either Powell or Taylor, according to several people familiar with the deliberations who spoke on condition of anonymity. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has championed Powell, and Vice President Mike Pence has made the case for Taylor, people familiar with the matter said. Trump completed his interviews with Fed candidates on Oct. 19, when he sat down with Yellen at the White House for a half hour. Yellen’s current term as chair ends on Feb. 3. The Senate must confirm her reappointment or replacement.
The president has said privately at least twice that he’s ruled out appointing Cohn to the job, according to two people who heard the information directly from Trump. Cohn is scheduled to speak about tax reform to the Economic Club of Washington D.C. on the day of Trump’s planned announcement. Warsh lacks support from Mnuchin, according to two people familiar with the process, though they wouldn’t say why. His tenure on the Fed board has been criticized by a diverse range of economists from Scott Sumner to Nobel laureate Paul Krugman.