US President Donald Trump may have decided against renominating Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve chief in part because he felt she was too short.
According to a Washington Post report this week, the president told advisers last year that at 5ft 3 (1.6m), Yellen simply did not have the stature for the post.
Yellen served in the position between 2014-2018. Trump picked Jerome Powell to take over the Fed at the start of the year, opting against renominating Yellen in a break from precedent involving Fed appointments.
According to the Post, Trump was impressed by Yellen during an interview but was swayed by aides to pick a candidate who would be his own man — as well as, apparently, by her height.
Trump in recent weeks has repeatedly attacked the Fed — and Powell personally — for the central bank’s interest rate increases, which the president has blamed for stock market turmoil and signs of economic weakness. Critics have expressed worry that the president’s attacks threaten the Fed’s ability to operate free of political pressure.
“So far, I’m not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay,” Trump told the Post. “Not even a little bit.”
In the past Powell has noted that the Fed has a dual mandate: To maximize employment and keep prices stable. “I am pleased to say,” Powell said Wednesday, “that our economy is now close to both of those objectives.”
In discussing his choice of Powell, Trump said Tuesday: “Look, I took recommendations. I’m not blaming anybody.”
Unfortunately, as far as the president is concerned, his choice appears to have come up short.