That Trumka would feel this way ranks as no great surprise, but given the irritation President Obama has repeatedly expressed toward those suggesting to him that Summers would be a terrible choice, it stands out that he would say so publicly at this point. Obama's attitude in dealing with opponents of Summers may be why Trumka appears to have weighed his words carefully, saying that he was not endorsing Yellen or ruling Summers out entirely:
"[Summers] may come out and say, 'I am fully in favor of enforcing full employment as well as inflation.' If he's sincere about that … that's a different story," he said. "Until we get all the facts, I'm not going to make a decision and declare right here."Senators opposing Summers have reportedly faced pressure from the White House to sit down and be quiet; in that context, even this measured criticism of Summers and support for Yellen from Trumka is newsworthy. Clearly the president does not like hearing criticism of his former economic adviser, yet given the strength of the argument against Summers—at least from those outside Summers's immediate circle of admirers—it's important that the president does hear it.
Trumka said that Fed presidents dating back to Paul Volcker under President Reagan have disproportionately emphasized controlling inflation over pursuing full employment when conducting monetary policy, even though the law requires it to pursue both goals. Trumka argued Yellen's track record makes her a better fit for the job.
"She's been very balanced in her approach forever. Not just last week, but forever," he said. "She's been right on predicting what's going to happen in the economy. I think those are important factors."