13 Picks to Run Donald Trump's Fed, From a 'Pharma Bro' to a Gold-Hoarding Dealmaker

There's a lot about Donald Trump's young presidency that's stranger than fiction, so why should his choice to lead the Federal Reserve be any different?

The expiration of Chair Janet Yellen's five-year term next February, just eight months from now, has already prompted speculation in Washington and on Wall Street about whom Trump might tap to succeed her, with suggestions from the traditional to the far-fetched and the outright bizarre.

The most orthodox choice might be Yellen herself. The 70-year-old's departure isn't a given, though she and Trump haven't displayed any particular fondness for each other, and the president has a clear penchant for bringing in people in his own orbit.

Yellen has declined to say whether she would remain in the post, when asked, or to characterize her relationship with Trump. Or even, after a presentation in London this week, whether the president had asked her for a loyalty pledge as he did with former FBI Director James Comey.

"It's been a very long tradition in the United States for Federal Reserve officials to have good and close working relations with our counterparts in the administration," she said. "I've continued that tradition with [Treasury] Secretary [Steve] Mnuchin, and we confer about the economy and the outlook and issues pertaining to financial regulation where we both have interests and responsibilities."

Interpret that as you will.

Less in keeping with recent tradition but still reasonable might be Goldman-Sachs-exec-turned-Trump-economic-guru Gary Cohn, who's reportedly helming the search for a successor to Yellen -- and including himself on the shortlist of candidates. (It's a déjà vu moment for people who remember Dick Cheney leading George W. Bush's search for a vice presidential candidate in 2000, ultimately deciding there was no one better-suited than himself.)

Unlike Yellen and every Fed chair for the past three decades, who all had doctorates in economics, Cohn has only a bachelor's degree in the related discipline of finance.

Don't expect Trump to feel like he has to confine himself to the highly qualified or even the plausible, though -- his track record of doing otherwise is long.

His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been tasked with a litany of assignments, including bringing peace to the Middle East, handling diplomacy with Mexico and China and revamping government technology. Kushner's portfolio would be impossible for any individual to accomplish, let alone a semi-successful 36-year-old real estate developer and publisher.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry reportedly didn't know one of his biggest responsibilities would be overseeing the nation's nuclear arsenal until he had already accepted the job. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said schools need guns because of grizzly bears at her confirmation hearing. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon and author, said growing up in the inner city qualified him for his job.

Trump's social media manager, Dan Scavino, used to be his golf caddie. The administration tapped Lynne Patton, a longtime Trump associate whose credentials include organizing golf tournaments and son Eric Trump's wedding, to head HUD programs in New York and New Jersey.

With that in mind -- along with the Tweeter-in-chief's frequent blurring of the lines between life and death (he seemed to think Frederick Douglass was still alive) and fantasy and reality (he masqueraded as his own PR flack, John Barron) -- we've put together a list of candidates real, dead and fictional the president might consider.

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Editors' pick: Originally published June 9.

Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich's sycophantic support for Trump may have gotten his wife a job, but so far, the former Speaker of the House hasn't landed a post for himself. Gingrich said back in November he didn't want a position in Trump's cabinet, explaining that he wanted to focus instead on "strategic planning."

He's currently promoting his book on the president, "Understanding Trump," and his wife, Callista, has been nominated as ambassador to the Vatican.

If Gingrich doesn't want the Fed chair spot, perhaps New Jersey Governor Chris Christie or former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani would be interested. Christie's about to be out of a job, and he's definitely got the thick skin that leading the Fed sometimes requires.

Martin Shkreli
Martin Shkreli

"Pharma bro" Martin Shkreli is currently on trial for fraud, but the president could pardon him if he chose. Shkreli, who released parts of the Wu-Tang Clan album he paid $2 million for in celebration of Trump's election, said in January the Trump presidency is a "dream for business people like me."

One potential point against him: Shkreli and Trump can't be friends on Twitter. The 34-year-old was banned from the president's favorite platform after harassing a reporter in January.

On the other hand, how hard is coming up with a new Twitter ID? It's a tactic the president should appreciate.

Travis Kalanick
Travis Kalanick

Might there be life for Travis Kalanick after Uber? The often-combative executive was ousted from the $70 billion ride-sharing company last week after a shareholder revolt and is currently in the market for a new gig.

Perhaps Kalanick's bold and often-criticized way of doing business would appeal to Trump, who's not one to back away from a fight and has often bragged about going after people who crossed him.

"I'm like fire and brimstone sometimes," Kalanick told Vanity Fair in 2014 -- for an article that described the entrepreneur as "having a face like a fist" when he's ready to fight.

Kalanick himself characterized his approach as "principled confrontation, a phrase that for some reason sounds awfully reminiscent of "truthful hyperbole," the sales technique described in Trump's 1987 book "The Art of the Deal."

Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)  head Warren Buffett made no secret of his support for Hillary Clinton during the election, even hitting the campaign trial for the former Secretary of State. But he softened his tone after Trump won.

"I support any president of the United States. It's very important that the American people coalesce behind the president," he told CNN soon after the election. "That doesn't mean they can't criticize him or they can't disagree with what he's doing, maybe. But we need a country unified."

The vengeful Trump might not be eager to appoint the 86-year-old Oracle of Omaha, given his past support for Clinton -- and his criticism of Trump for hiding his tax returns.

Remember how Trump paraded around Mitt Romney after the election but ultimately named someone else Secretary of State?

A bigger problem for Buffett might be his net worth: At $76 billion, according to Forbes, it's way more than the $10 billion Trump claimed to have in an election. The math looks even gloomier when considering the smaller fortune news organizations estimated the then-candidate actually did have.

Perhaps those grudges could be erased over a shared meal -- the benefits of which many health experts are touting? Buffett and Trump each have a fondness for fast food, with Buffett's Berkshire owning Dairy Queen outright and the man himself often pictured with his favorite drink, a cherry Coca-Cola. Trump, meanwhile, enjoys tucking into chicken from KFC and McDonald's snacks and appeared with ex-wife Ivana in a Pizza Hut commercial.

Jeff Immelt
Jeff Immelt

General Electric (GE) CEO Jeff Immelt will soon have a lot more time on his hands.

The 61-year-old, who has been at the helm of GE since 2001, will step down as CEO on Aug. 1 and as chairman as Dec. 31, just a little over a month before Yellen's term is up.

Immelt, a self-described Republican, met with Trump recently as part of an emerging technologies summit, but the pair don't always see eye-to-eye.

Immelt slammed Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, in a tweet declaring, "Climate change is real." Another likely negative, from the Donald's viewpoint, is that Immelt chaired former President Barack Obama's jobs council.

Still, the president might like Immelt's recent dig about neither Obama nor former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton setting foot in a factory.

Jeb Bush
Jeb Bush

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush does have experience in banking. Bush got gigs as an adviser at Lehman Brothers and Barclays after ending his second term, earning more than $14 million over seven years. Plus, "Jeb! for the Fed!" would be a fun slogan.

To be sure, Trump and Bush aren't exactly the best of friends. Trump dubbed Bush as "low energy" on the campaign trail, and Bush labeled Trump a "jerk."

At the Skybridge Alternatives (SALT) hedge fund conference in Las Vegas, Bush slammed the president for the "chaos" inside the White House and took a jab at his tweets. "They give our enemies all sorts of nuances, insights," he said. "There are lots of reasons why you wouldn't want to send out signals to our adversaries."

Anthony Scaramucci
Anthony Scaramucci

Hedge funder Anthony Scaramucci was reportedly twice before up for a spot in the Trump administration before finally landing one this month at the Export-Import Bank. But he could always upgrade.

He told reporters in January he would join the White House as a liaison to the business community, but his deal to sell his company to a Chinese conglomerate squashed that.

Bloomberg reported this month that Trump would appoint him ambassador to the Organization of Economic and Corporate Development, but that hasn't happened yet either.

Scaramucci, 53, is one of Trump's most vocal defenders in the business community and outwardly, at least, seems like he's always auditioning for a job.

Maybe he could hop from the Ex-Im Bank to the Fed.

Diamond and Silk
Diamond and Silk

Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, better known as Diamond and Silk, rose to prominence as vocal Trump supporters on platforms YouTube and Twitter.

The North Carolina sisters hit the campaign trail for Trump alongside his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, and have appeared on television networks such as CNN and Fox News on his behalf.

While they may not have the resumes typically associated with the job, neither did Trump. And the statute creating the Fed doesn't specify qualifications for the chair.

Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton

If President Trump thinks Frederick Douglass is "being recognized more and more," who knows what he thinks about Alexander Hamilton.

The nation's first Treasury Secretary, broadly regarded as the founder of the U.S. financial system, is the subject of a Tony Award-winning musical, tickets to which run hundreds of dollars a pop.

Of course, the cast of that same musical called out Vice President-elect Mike Pence over Trump's stances on immigration when he saw the show in November. Trump, who seldom lets a perceived insult -- or even a mild criticism -- slide, took to Twitter in response.

Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing.This should not happen!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2016

Does that count as a dealbreaker?

John Rockefeller
John Rockefeller

Trump doesn't want a poor person advising him on the economy or heading the Commerce Department. And he probably doesn't want one running the Fed, either.

So maybe he could pick John Rockefeller, the richest person in U.S. history. Not only do he and Trump have their names on lots of stuff, Rockefeller is the founder of Standard Oil -- an ancestor of ExxonMobil --and the president is a strong supporter of fossil fuels.

The caveat, of course, is that Rockefeller died in 1937.

Rumpelstiltskin
Rumpelstiltskin

Who better to lead the Fed than someone who can spin straw into gold, POTUS's favorite metal? Even if doesn't make America great again, it would make the world's largest economy wealthier, with the price more than quadrupling to $1,244 an ounce over the past 16 years.

And a penchant for precious minerals isn't all the two have in common.

Like the president, Rumplestiltskin -- as brought to scheming life by Robert Carlyle on ABC's "Once Upon a Time" -- is prone to boasting about his dealmaking prowess.

Of course, the imp's deals don't always turn out so well for his counterparties, but it's doubtful that Trump -- who has described declaring bankruptcy as good business -- would object to that.

Gordon Gekko
Gordon Gekko

The fictional character from the 1987 film "Wall Street" could be exactly the killer Trump needs to lead the Federal Reserve.

If the president's going for big-league economic growth, who better to help him deliver than one of the premier pop culture symbols for greed, a man who knows the value of money and how to get it.

"The richest 1% of this country owns half our country's wealth, $5 trillion," Gekko explains to a protege in the movie. "One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons, and what I do, stock and real estate speculation."

Gekko's fondness for touting his stock market skills -- and his intelligence -- is something he and Trump have in common. The president bragged in a March speech about a $3 trillion Wall Street rally since his election victory in November.

As for Gekko, witness this bit of self-reflection in the post-financial crisis sequel to "Wall Street," which hit theaters in 2010:

"I don't wanna sound like a rooster taking credit for the dawn, but turning $100 million into $1.1 billion in this market takes some brains, right? My guys are good."

Which clearly makes the financier one of the "best people," an elite crowd Trump claims to have no shortage of in his administration.

John Barron
John Barron

Trump believes he's his own best spokesman, so why not be his own best Fed chair?

In the 1980s, the 71-year-old president made a habit of masquerading as his own publicist, using the alias John Barron or John Miller to push stories about his business endeavors and his love life.

The Donald could rekindle one of the aliases to moonlight as monetary policy head, though he'd have to find a convincing disguise or start doing his press conferences by phone. On the other hand, maybe there's a reason his media handlers have begun excluding cameras and audio from the White House briefing room.

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