In her most recent public role, Yellen served as chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014-2018, overseeing a record-long expansion of the economy that pushed unemployment to its lowest rate in half a century, according to the New York Times. Also the first woman to hold the position of Fed chair, Yellen had hoped to serve another term, but Donald Trump predictably looked at her track record of success and replaced her with someone he hoped would be more of a patsy in bending to his wishes.
A former academic who taught at University of California, Berkeley, Yellen knows her way around Washington. Before serving in the Obama and Trump administrations, she also served as a economic adviser in Bill Clinton’s White House.
The Times writes that Yellen has met with some criticism from progressives who perhaps hoped someone with the aggressive instincts of an Elizabeth Warren would helm the Treasury. But the Times also credits Yellen with paying “consistent, careful attention to inequality and labor market outcomes,” even when it hasn’t been popular among lawmakers.
In fact, Massachusetts Sen. Warren praised exactly that track record in endorsing the pick, calling Yellen “smart, tough, and principled.”
“As one of the most successful Fed Chairs ever, she has stood up to Wall Street banks, including holding Wells Fargo accountable for cheating working families,” Warren tweeted Monday. “I’d look forward to working with Secretary Yellen to strengthen our economy, tackle inequality, and protect consumers.”
Yellen herself has said she was attracted to becoming an economist as a vehicle to improving other people’s lives. “I care about people,” she said in a 2013 interview with New York University economics professor Simon Bowmaker. “I discovered that economics was of enormous relevance to our lives and had the potential to make the world a better place.”
Yellen is also viewed as a pick with bipartisan appeal after receiving backing from lawmakers of both parties during her confirmation as Fed Chair.