"Trump's power to remake the Fed has to alarm the occupants of its headquaters on Constitution Avenue."

What does "has to alarm" this sentence mean?

When saying "I have to finish my essay tomorrow", it mean I need to and will do it (finish the essay). But this meaning doesn't fit in the Trump sentence.

Thank you!

  • 3
    Why do you think that meaning of "have to" doesn't work here? "Have to" simply means "must". "Trump's power must alarm the occupants" is another way of saying "It must be true that Trump's power alarms the occupants".
    – stangdon
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 13:38

2 Answers 2


Have to X means "to be required, compelled or forced to do X" (or must as @stangdon says in the comments), different from have X which means "to possess or be able to consume X".

You may hear this version of has/have pronounced differently—with the s or ve voiceless. This may be a regional thing and not sure about BrE.

So the speaker/writer is saying "Trump's power to remake the Fed" compels or forces "the occupants of its headquarters on Constitution Avenue" to be alarmed, or "Trump's power to remake the Fed must alarm the occupants ..."


The sentence in context provides a clearer picture.

The Supreme Court isn’t the only institution President-elect Donald Trump could influence over the next four years. He could also reshape the Federal Reserve—the high court of money. There are already two vacancies on the Fed’s Board of Governors for him to fill next year. Two more seats, including that of Chair Janet Yellen, are likely to open up by the time his term is a year and a half old, giving him a majority of appointees on the seven-member board. He could also put his stamp on the central bank by signing legislation to force the Fed to publish a rate-setting rule and follow it.

Trump’s power to remake the Fed has to alarm the occupants of its headquarters on Constitution Avenue.

'alarm' in this case can be defined as a 'sudden sharp apprehension and fear resulting from the perception of imminent danger', meaning the current members must be feeling apprehensive or disturbed at that possible changes Trump could make to the Federal Reserve in the near future.

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