Trump Federal Reserve Pick Moore Won’t Withdraw Despite ‘Sleaze Campaign’

April 28, 2019 Updated: May 2, 2019

President Donald Trump’s latest pick for the board of the Federal Reserve blamed recent accusations against him on a coordinated “sleaze campaign” and said he’s confident about making it through the Senate confirmation process.

In an interview with ABC News on April 28, Stephen Moore addressed recent criticism about humor columns he wrote almost two decades ago that disparage women.

“They were humor columns, but some of them weren’t funny and so I am apologetic, I’m embarrassed by some of those things,” Moore said.

Moore suggested that his writings were dug up after it became clear that his forthcoming nomination couldn’t be derailed by attacking his views on the economy. The media have instead shifted its focus to all other aspects of his life, with five or six full-time reporters assigned to the task, according to Moore.

Media outlets have gone as far as unsealing Moore’s divorce records from a decade ago. Reporters went on to cover the details of the divorce, against the wishes of both Moore and his ex-wife, with whom he said he now has a good relationship.

“Most fair-minded people think this has been a kind of a sleaze campaign against me,” he said.

On March 22, Trump said he intends to nominate Moore to the Federal Reserve. The president hasn’t yet made a formal nomination, pending the completion of a background check.

Like the president, Moore criticized the Fed for raising interest rates last year. The central bank continued raising rates—a total of four times in 2018—amid the criticisms, triggering a stock market nosedive. The decline reversed only after the Fed decided against further rate increases earlier this year. The last time the Fed raised rates that many times was in 2006.

Herman Cain, a former CEO of a pizza company who Trump also intended to nominate for the Fed board, withdrew his nomination last week.

Trump has grown increasingly frustrated with the Fed’s policies and last year, blamed the central bank for hindering economic growth. The president has referred to the Fed as the worst problem for the U.S. economy and a bigger problem than China.

Moore’s criticism of the Fed has been even more explosive. In December 2018, he called on Trump to oust Jerome Powell as chairman.

If nominated, Moore will face confirmation hearings in a polarized Senate, where Republicans hold a thin 53–47 margin. Moore said he knows most of the Republican senators. No Republican senator has publicly expressed opposition to Moore’s nomination, including Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both of whom are known for breaching the party line on women’s issues.

“If I become a liability to any of these senators, I would withdraw. I don’t think it’s going to come to that,” Moore said.

In one of his old writings that have resurfaced, Moore argues against legislation meant to close the so-called gender wage gap. Moore argued that the best way to close the gap would be to create a healthy economy, and pointed out that 71 percent of U.S. citizens now believe that the economy is either good or great.

“When it comes to wages and gender equity, I want that to be decided by the market. I don’t want government to intervene in those kinds of things,” Moore said.

Congress established the Federal Reserve with the goal of preventing economic booms and busts and keeping inflation in check. Over the decades of its existence, the central bank’s policies have instead led to the very booms and busts it was created to prevent.

Trump has appointed and the Senate has confirmed four members to the Federal Reserve’s seven-member board of directors. Compared to the four other directors, Moore is unique, because of his history of vocal criticism of the central bank. Similar to Trump, Moore believes that the current fractional reserve banking system and fiat currency monetary policy is flawed.

Trump and Moore believe that returning to the United States to the gold standard would be better than the current system. Moore ultimately favors pegging the value of the dollar to a basket of commodities, yet still considers the gold standard superior to the current fiat currency system.

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