Bannon Wanted Yellen to Stay Fed Chair, Calling Her `My Girl'


(Bloomberg) -- Former White House strategist Steve Bannon considered endorsing Janet Yellen for a second term as Federal Reserve chair but instead kept quiet as President Donald Trump passed her over in favor of fellow Republican Jerome Powell.

Ousted from the White House in August, Bannon subsequently toyed with urging Trump to reappoint the first woman to lead the U.S. central bank, according to a new preface in the paperback edition of “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising,” to be released by Penguin Press on Tuesday.

Bannon saw Yellen’s dovish monetary policy as helping to boost wages and was worried that a more hawkish Fed chief, of the sort most Republicans preferred, might stifle economic growth.

“The Breitbart posse is in love with Janet Yellen. If we get behind her, that is the signal of signals -- the realignment of American politics, ” Bannon told the book’s author, Bloomberg’s Joshua Green, in September, several months before he stepped down from the conservative media outlet. “Yellen’s my girl.”

But Bannon did not endorse Yellen, and Trump broke with decades of precedent by not reappointing the Fed chair he inherited from the previous administration. Instead he picked Powell, a Fed governor since 2012 who took office Feb. 5 and is expected to stick with Yellen’s strategy of gradual rate hikes.

Yellen, who oversaw a steep decline in U.S. unemployment to the lowest level since 2000, didn’t disguise her disappointment of not being rewarded with a second four-year term at the helm of the Fed. “I would have liked to serve an additional term and I did make that clear, so I will say I was disappointed not to be reappointed,” she told PBS NewsHour in a rare television interview on Feb. 3, her final day on the job.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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