During the U.S. presidential campaign, much was made about the seeming dichotomy between Donald Trump’s supporters and his vehement critics. The former were said to take him seriously but not literally, and the latter literally but not seriously. However, when it comes to his taboo-breaking bitter criticism of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, it seems Trump meant to be taken neither seriously nor literally.
Upon his election, Trump realized (or was told) that the low interest rate environment he had decried as a covert scheme on the part of Yellen & co. to elect Hillary Clinton didn’t look so bad from within the Oval Office. In fact, there was suddenly a lot to like about the fellow New Yorker of a certain age sitting atop the nation’s fiscal policy apparatus. Plus Gary Cohn seems to like her, and that carries a good deal of weight. Sure, Janet Yellen may not be a person of Putinesque quality but there is at least a little bit of D.J.T. in her, according to the latest in Trump’s series of awkward, winking attempts at ingratiation with and intimidation of underlings.
Weeks after his inauguration, President Trump held court with Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen in the Oval Office. Seated behind the office’s Resolute desk, he told her she was doing a good job, according to people familiar with the exchange.
Ms. Yellen sat across from Mr. Trump in a chair next to Gary Cohn, Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser, who has emerged as the key intermediary in the unfolding relationship with the Fed.
The president told Ms. Yellen he considered her, like himself, a “low-interest-rate” person.