- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 5, 2016

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Thursday he’d probably replace Janet Yellen, who chairs the Federal Reserve, if elected president.

“I have nothing against Janet Yellen whatsoever. I think she’s been doing her job,” Mr. Trump said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “I don’t know her. She’s [a] very capable person. People that I know have [a] high regard for her.

“But she’s not a Republican,” he said. “When her time is up, I would most likely replace her because of the fact that I think it would be appropriate.

“She’s a low interest-rate person. She’s always been a low interest-rate person, and I must be honest — I am low interest rate person,” he said. “If we raise interest rates and if the dollar starts getting too strong, we’re going to have some very major problems.”

He said China is “killing” the United States on trade and pointed out that China is devaluing its currency, saying it sounds better to have a strong dollar than it actually is.

“I’ve always been a low interest rate person. Now, if inflation starts coming in … that’s a different story. Then you have to go up and you have to slow things down,” he said. “But right now, I am for low interest rates and I think we keep [them] low.

“What do we do with all of the money that we owe everybody when rates go up and now all of a sudden we have to borrow at two points more — one point more, even, is devastating,” he said. “But two, three, four, five points more — it’s a real dilemma and we have to be very, very careful.

“And I am the king of debt — I do love debt. I love debt, I love playing with it, but of course, now … you’re talking about something that’s very, very fragile, and it has to be handled very, very carefully,” he said.

Mr. Trump was also asked if he thinks the United States needs to pay a hundred cents on the dollar or if there’s a way to renegotiate the country’s debt.

“I’ve borrowed knowing that you can pay back with discounts,” he said. “I’ve done very well with debt. Now, of course, I was swashbuckling and it did well for me and it was good for me and all that, and you know, debt was sort of always interesting to me.

“Now we’re in a different situation with the country, but I would borrow knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal,” he said. “And if the economy was good it was good, so therefore, you can’t lose.”

Asked if he was suggesting the U.S. would negotiate its credit in such a way, he said: “No, I think this: I think there are times for us to refinance — we refinance debt with [a] longer term.”

“Because we owe so much money … nobody talks about it,” he said. “Nobody talks about it until the bubble pops, and the bubble could pop, and it could pop and it could be ugly.

“I could see long-term renegotiations where we borrow long-term at very low rates,” he said. “We do need money to rebuild the infrastructure of our country.

“I don’t want to renegotiate the bonds, but I think you can do discounting,” he said when asked about sovereign bonds. “I think depending on where interest rates are, I think you can buy back. I’m not talking about with a renegotiation, but you can buy back at discounts — you can do things at discounts.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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