Donald Trump appears to have conflicting feelings about Fed chief Janet Yellen.
During his campaign, candidate Trump said Yellen should be “ashamed of herself” for creating a “false stock market.”
Now that he’s president, Trump says he’s considering re-hiring Yellen because she’s “done a good job.”
Trump hasn’t made a decision on the Federal Reserve post yet, but his flip-flopping outlook on Yellen was on display again this week when he told The Wall Street Journal that she is “absolutely” under consideration to be renominated when her term expires in February.
“I like her; I like her demeanor,” Trump told the paper on Tuesday.
Trump also said he’s considering others for the job, including his top economic advisor Gary Cohn, who previously served as president of Goldman Sachs(. )
Trump’s love-hate relationship with Yellen can be partially explained by what benefits him as his role has shifted from insurgent candidate to president.
Yellen has a reputation — rightly or wrongly — for being inclined to keep interest rates low. One school of thought is that this “dovish” stance didn’t help Trump when he was running for office. It kept stock markets afloat at a time when Trump was painting a very dark picture about the U.S. economy.
Now that he’s in the White House, Trump benefits politically from lower interest rates. Not only do low ratesboost the rising stock market that Trump has taken credit for, but they support the economy he now owns.
Consider Trump’s own evolving comments about Yellen:
Then: Trump told Bloomberg in October 2015 that Yellen is a “very political person” who was keeping interest rates to help President Obama.
Now: “I’d like to see rates stay low. She’s historically been a low-interest-rate person,” Trump told the Journal.
Then: In September 2016, Trump told CNBC that Yellen was “obviously political, as she’s doing what Obama wants her to do.” He said the Fed chief should be “ashamed” of herself for creating a “false stock market.” He added at a debate that the Fed is “being more political than Secretary Clinton.”
Now: Trump regularly brags about the Dow being up 4,000 points since last September. He told the Journal he now has “a lot of respect” for Yellen. In April, Trump told the Journal that Yellen is “not toast,” adding: “I do like the low interest rate policy.”
The back-and-forth shows how even though the Fed and its leaders try to stay above the political fray, Trump still sees the institution through a political lens.
Yellen has pushed back against Trump by saying last fall that the Fed does not “discuss politics at our meetings.” Once Trump won the White House, Yellen signaled she wouldn’t step down early and recently said she remains a “strong believer in the independence of the Fed.”
In the spring of 2016, Trump said he would “most likely replace” Yellen because she wasn’t appointed by a Republican. That’s despite the fact that Obama renominated former Fed chief Ben Bernanke who was first tapped by Republican President George W. Bush.
Trump may want to make his own mark by tapping Cohn or someone new to lead the Fed, which has enormous power over the economy and financial markets.
The president signaled that no announcement is likely until the end of the year, which leaves ample time for his views on Yellen to evolve further.
–CNNMoney’s Chris Isidore contributed to this report.