Stephen Moore Withdraws From Consideration for Federal Reserve Post

May 2, 2019 Updated: May 3, 2019

Economist Stephen Moore withdrew from consideration for nomination to the board of the Federal Reserve, President Donald Trump said on May 2.

“Steve Moore, a great pro-growth economist and a truly fine person, has decided to withdraw from the Fed process. Steve won the battle of ideas including Tax Cuts and deregulation which have produced non-inflationary prosperity for all Americans,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

“I’ve asked Steve to work with me toward future economic growth in our Country,” he added.

Trump announced his intention to nominate Moore to the Fed board on March 22. Since then, Moore has faced a barrage of criticism from liberals about his ideas on the economy. The criticism then changed focus, digging into Moore’s personal life, with reporters unsealing his divorce records and unearthing humor columns he wrote nearly two decades ago.

Moore didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. He was committed to sticking with the consideration as recently as April 28, when he accused his critics of coordinating a sleaze campaign meant to derail the nomination.

Moore’s withdrawal is surprising, considering that no Republican senator was on record as committing to vote against him. Just hours prior to Trump’s announcement, Moore had told Bloomberg TV that he was “all in” and that he expected to be nominated within three weeks.

On the morning before Moore withdrew, he received a significant endorsement from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), a key lawmaker on the committee that would have vetted Moore’s nomination.

“I would be inclined to support his nomination,” Toomey told CNBC. “He’s been a terrific champion for growth, a terrific champion for a supply-side way of viewing the economy and the world.”

Unlike Trump’s other nominees who already sit on the Fed’s board, Moore has frequently criticized the central bank’s policies. In December 2018, he called for the firing of Chairman Jerome Powell after the Fed raised rates. Trump has also repeatedly criticized the Fed since last year for increasing interest rates and tightening the money supply. The president has said that the central bank is the biggest problem facing the U.S. economy and is a bigger problem than China.

Moore is the second candidate to withdraw from consideration for the Fed in recent weeks. Herman Cain withdrew from consideration on April 22. Trump announced both withdrawals, suggesting that he was personally involved.

The White House is considering other candidates for the two vacant seats on the Fed’s seven-member board. Trump nominated four of the five current members of the board, including Powell.

The Federal Reserve didn’t raise rates on May 1, for the third meeting in a row, after a rate-increase spree in 2018 triggered a sharp stock market downturn.

Moore was undergoing background checks before Trump announced the withdrawal. It’s unclear if Moore withdrew due to an issue with a background check, lack of support in the Senate, or another reason.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for clarification.

More than 100 prominent economists backed Moore for the nomination. Democrats opposed the pick because they believe Moore would politicize his position to support Trump. Moore told Toomey that he would be an independent voice on the Fed, not a political one.

Like Trump, Moore believes that the fiat currency and fractional reserve banking system currently in place in the United States is suboptimal. Both view a return to the gold standard as a viable solution. Moore is an advocate for pegging the value of the dollar to a basket of commodities, but still sees the gold standard as superior to the current system.

A fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation whose past jobs include writing editorials for the Wall Street Journal and policy pieces for the libertarian Cato Institute, Moore has a long track record of supporting Republican causes, particularly tax cuts. In 1999, he founded the Club for Growth to raise money for like-minded politicians, and ran it until 2004.

Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov
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