President Trump said Friday that he has held four meetings to discuss who should lead the Federal Reserve starting early next year and expects to decide within two to three weeks.
Trump made the disclosure in comments to reporters on the White House lawn. He did not name the candidates with whom he has met.
A White House official said the president and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin met Thursday with Kevin Warsh, a former Fed board member. Another report said Trump also met with Jerome Powell, the only Republican on the Fed board.
The White House official who discussed Trump’s meeting with Warsh spoke on condition of anonymity to talk about a private White House meeting. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Trump and Mnuchin had met with Powell.
Trump has said previously that he is considering re-nominating Fed Chair Janet L. Yellen when her term ends in February. But he has said he also is looking at other candidates, including Gary Cohn, the head of Trump’s National Economic Council.
Warsh, who served on the Fed’s board from 2006 to 2011, was a key advisor to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke during the 2008 financial crisis. He is married to Jane Lauder, granddaughter of cosmetics giant Estee Lauder. Her father, Ronald Lauder, is a longtime Trump friend.
Warsh was 35 when then-President George W. Bush nominated him to serve on the Fed board in January 2006. He is currently a distinguished visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute and a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Trump told reporters earlier this month that he liked and respected Yellen but had not made a decision yet on the Fed job. Although Trump was harshly critical during the campaign of Yellen’s performance, he has made only favorable comments about her since the election.
Yellen’s term as chair expires Feb. 3. In an interview this summer, Trump mentioned Cohn as another candidate for the Fed job. But Cohn’s prospects appeared to dim after he was publicly critical in August of Trump’s response to the protest violence in Charlottesville, Va.
Cohn and Mnuchin have taken the lead in crafting the administration’s tax plan, which was unveiled Wednesday.
Yellen, asked last week whether she had met with Trump recently, said she had not met with the president since a brief discussion the two had after Trump took office. Yellen has repeatedly said she plans to serve out her current term. But she has not said whether she would serve another four-year term if asked to so do by Trump.
One other person who has been mentioned for the top Fed job is John Taylor, a Stanford University economist and a favorite of conservatives for his support for a rules-based approach to setting interest-rate policies.
There are three vacancies on the Fed board, and there soon will be a fourth. Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer announced this month that he planned to step down in October. So far, Trump has moved to fill only one of the vacancies, nominating Utah financier Randal Quarles to the Fed board to be vice chairman for bank supervision. His nomination is pending before the Senate.
2 p.m.: This article was updated with comment by President Trump and with a report that Trump met with Jerome Powell.
This article was originally published at 12:45 p.m.