Mnuchin: White House won’t rule out a second term for Fed’s Janet Yellen

Janet Yellen touts economy before stepping down

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday left the door open for President Trump to ask Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen to stay on for a second term.

The former Goldman Sachs banker said he has been working closely with National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn to vet top picks for the president to consider as the administration seeks to fill several financial regulatory posts, including head of the U.S. central bank.

Yellen’s term expires next February, and so far the Trump administration hasn’t ruled out reappointing her.

“We haven’t made any decisions yet on a Fed chair — whether we’re going to have a new one or not a new one,” said Mnuchin during an interview with Bloomberg Television. “We’ll be working closely together with the president as we consider all the issues.”

It’s been unclear whether Trump would reappoint Yellen for a second four-year term, since he has both praised and criticized her. Trump was a fierce critic of the Fed during the final weeks of last year’s presidential campaign. He has since softened his views and has avoided publicly questioning the Fed’s decisions to lift interest rates.

So far, Yellen has refrained from weighing in on her future at the Fed.

“I don’t have anything for you at this point,” Yellen said when asked at a press conference last Wednesday.

Separately, Mnuchin endorsed the Fed’s recent efforts to slowly shrink the $4.5 trillion of holdings it amassed during and after the recession.

The Fed said it plans to start selling Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities totaling $10 billion a month.

“We think it’s the right thing for them to get out of their large portfolio,” said Mnuchin. “It was something that they did in a unique period of time and, obviously, it has to be reversed.”