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Stephen Moore withdraws from Fed consideration, Trump says

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Stephen Moore

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Conservative pundit Stephen Moore has withdrawn his bid to be appointed to the Federal Reserve Board, President Donald Trump said Thursday.

Moore had faced intense criticism and scrutiny after Trump said he wanted him on the Federal Reserve board, including for his economic views, messy divorce and past statements that belittled women.

Trump had yet to officially nominate Moore for the role, which would have required Senate confirmation. Several Republican senators had indicated the bid was in trouble.

“Very unlikely that I would support that person,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, told reporters when asked about a potential Moore nomination. Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., told The Washington Post that confirming Moore would be a “very heavy lift.”

The GOP has a 53-47 edge in the Senate, so Moore could only afford to lose three Republicans. The term for the Fed board role is 14 years.

Despite the steady criticism and revelations about his previous writings, Moore continued to fight for his shot for a seat on the Fed. “You know, they’re pulling a Kavanaugh against me,” he told a radio interviewer in late April, referring to how Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination was imperiled by late-stage accusations of sexual misconduct.

“If it comes down to things I wrote 18 years ago that were impolitic, that I’ve apologized for, that were, you know, insulting, then I’m in trouble,” he told CNBC in an interview April 30. “If it comes to economic ideas, then I’ll be fine.”

While Moore, a conservative pundit and former member of The Wall Street Journal editorial board, had taken flak over his divorce and columns featuring jokes about AIDS and his ex-wife, his economic and political stances also came under fire. Greg Mankiw, a former economics advisor to President George W. Bush, had said Moore doesn’t have the “intellectual gravitas for this important job.”

There were also concerns that Moore could politicize the Fed, given his allegiance to Trump. Both men have been critical of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell for raising interest rates, which, Moore and Trump argued, put a damper on otherwise persistent U.S. economic growth.

Moore advised the Trump campaign on economic policy and the Trump administration during the push for the 2017 tax-cut bill. He also co-wrote the book “Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Get Our Economy Back on Track,” which was published in October. Moore is also a longtime associate of Larry Kudlow, the former CNBC contributor who now serves as Trump’s top economic advisor.

Another Trump choice for the Fed board, former pizza executive and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, withdrew from consideration last month after several Republican senators said they opposed his nomination.

Cain, a former Kansas City Fed chairman, is an outspoken defender of Trump and a critic of the Fed. Cain’s candidacy for a spot on the central bank’s board revived past accusations of sexual misconduct against him that arose during his failed bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. He has denied the allegations.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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