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Jerome Powell's nomination to become the next chairman of the Federal Reserve capped weeks — months, really — of speculation and a selection process that now seems to be the opposite of how beauty contestant finalists are decided.
President Donald Trump, a former reality TV host and casino operator who also attached his name to the Miss USA contest for a few years, picked Powell from a handful of finalists in a grueling (for the media) test of wills.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump's indecisiveness had staffers worried he'd chuck the whole finalist list for a dark horse, and he even consulted casino mogul Steve Wynn and did an impromptu show-of-hands poll of Senate Republicans during a recent visit to Capitol Hill.
"He infused the search with suspense and showmanship seldom seen in the normally staid business of picking a central banker," the Journal wrote.
Powell's biggest rival at times appeared to be former Fed official Kevin Warsh, but Warsh's youthful good looks and the spelling of his name proved too vexing for the president, according to The Journal's account.
Powell aced his meeting, talking with Trump about the power of the Fed and leaving the president reportedly with the sense he was pragmatic and "had good values."
Warsh underwhelmed Trump.
"One person briefed on the Warsh interview said Mr. Trump remarked during the meeting about Mr. Warsh's youth—he is 47 years old—and good looks, leaving the impression that the president believed him too young to be viewed credibly by the markets in the event of a financial crisis," the Journal wrote.
"After the interview the president would stumble over Mr. Warsh's name, referring to him as "Walsh" before correcting himself. "'It's with an R?' he asked his team."
Correction: This story was revised to correct the beauty pageant that Trump had been attached his name to. It was Miss USA.