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Update: President Trump announced on Thursday that Stephen Moore has withdrawn himself from consideration for a spot on the Federal Reserve Board.
“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,” he wrote. I’ve asked Steve to work with me toward future economic growth in our Country.”
Hours before Trump made the announcement, Moore told Bloomberg News that he was not considering withdrawing his name from consideration. “I talked to the White House yesterday,” he said. “They’re all in.”
Original text below.
Last month, President Trump nominated notoriously hackish economic analyst Stephen Moore to serve on the Federal Reserve Board. He didn’t give it a ton of thought. According to the Wall Street Journal, the offer was made after Trump read an opinion article Moore wrote for the same paper. The piece was flattering to Trump and critical of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, whom the president has bashed repeatedly on Twitter for raising interest rates. Boom. Nomination.
Trump criticized the Fed again on Tuesday, just as a month’s worth of scrutiny over the pick seemed to be causing several Republican senators to consider splitting with Trump and voting against confirming Moore. “I don’t imagine he can get the votes,” an unnamed Republican senator told Politico.
And why exactly are Republican senators mulling whether to confirm Moore? As it turns out, he doesn’t appear to be such a great guy. He’s also doesn’t appear to be very sharp when it comes to his supposed area of expertise. Both of these things are true for plenty of the shady figures Trump nominates to fill federal positions, but they’re really true for Moore, as has been revealed in horrifying detail since Trump tapped him to sit on the Fed a little over a month ago.
He’s not a huge fan of women
On Tuesday, Moore told CNBC that the biggest problem the United States faces economically is “male earnings” declining. “Look I want everybody’s wages to rise, of course, but you know, people are talking about women’s earnings; they’ve risen,” he said. “The problem, actually, has been the steady decline in male earnings, and I think we should pay attention to that because I think that has very negative consequences for the economy and for society.”
But male earnings are not actually declining; they’re only raising at a slower rate than those of women. This is an issue for Moore, which isn’t surprising considering what he said on C-SPAN in 2000. “The male needs to be the breadwinner,” he said. “One reasons you’ve seen decline of the family, not just in black community but now in white community as well, is because women are more economically self-sufficient.”
Last week, CNN unearthed some of Moore’s writings from around the same time period. They were shockingly discriminatory. He wrote that it was a “travesty” that women feel like they can play with men in rec league and playground sports games; that female athletes shouldn’t want “equal pay for inferior work”; that women shouldn’t be allowed to announce, referee or even sell beer at men’s sporting events; and more. He made many of these claims on multiple occasions.
The only instance in which women should be allowed to “participate,” Moore wrote, is if they look like Bonnie Bernstein. “The fact that Bonnie knows nothing about basketball is entirely irrelevant,” he wrote.
Bernstein, a former sportscaster for CBS, was quick to burn Moore.
When reached for comment by CNN, Moore said the writings were “a spoof” and that he has “a sense of humor.”
The day after the report was released, Moore said in a radio interview that the media was “pulling a Kavanaugh” against him, a reference to the scrutiny Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh faced last fall after multiple women accused him of sexual assault and sexual misconduct.
His tone changed on Sunday, when he appeared on multiple programs to express varying levels of regret over the columns. “These articles you’re talking about were 17, 18 years ago,” he said on ABC’s This Week. “They were humor columns, but some of them weren’t funny, so I am apologetic.” Moore also said the reporting amounted to a “smear campaign” and a “character assassination.”
On Monday, the New York Times reported that the White House was reviewing Moore’s writings amid concerns expressed by some of the Republican senators whose votes will be needed to confirm him.
The stack of Moore’s past work the White House may have to look over grew on Tuesday when CNN delivered another scoop about Moore’s misogyny: In 1994, he described the Violence Against Women Act as the “most objectionable pork” in that year’s crime bill.
Moore’s history of sexism isn’t sitting well with female members of the Senate. “His past writings are ridiculous,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) told reporters on Monday. “I’m not enthused about supporting him, let’s put it that way.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) feels similarly. “Obviously some of his past writings are of concern,” she said on Tuesday. “Certainly it appears that he has a lot of personal financial issues and well as troubling writings about women and our role in society, in sports, and also how he views the Federal Reserve.”
As for those financial issues…
He’s a huge fan of paying what he owes
Days after he was nominated by Trump, it was revealed that Moore owed over $75,000 in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest to the IRS, according to a tax lien filed in a Maryland court in 2018. When asked about the lien, Moore directed reporters, Anne Carey, his wife. “It’s an ongoing dispute, and it hasn’t been resolved,” she said. “I’m very optimistic that it will be soon.”
Earlier this month, Moore said he paid off the lien, but that the IRS now owes him $50,000 because of “errors on our deduction for alimony” paid to his ex-wife. Speaking of his alimony, The Guardian reported in March that Moore was held in contempt of court in 2012 for failing to pay his ex-wife over $300,000 worth of alimony, child support and their divorce settlement.
Meanwhile, the same year, Moore said at an event hosted by Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom that low- and middle-income households should be paying more than they are in taxes. During an interview on C-SPAN the following year, Moore suggested that income inequality can best be solved by creating more billionaires.
He’s not a huge fan of being right about pretty much anything
Not only does Moore have the right character to be a Trump nominee, he’s also got the right lack of understanding of the issues he would be tasked to oversee. Over the course of his career as a conservative economic pundit, he’s made countless false claims and inaccurate characterizations of the economy.
On Monday, Catherine Rampell of the Washington Postlaid out several of the glaring reasons Moore shouldn’t come within 100 feet of the Federal Reserve Board. He’s deliberately lied about whether the United States is experiencing deflation or inflation, mostly for political reasons; he’s said the dollar should be tied to the gold standard, a radical idea panned by most actual economists; he’s pushed false statistics and lied repeatedly about a number of issues. The list goes on.
Last year on CNN, Rampell demolished Moore to his face, particularly regarding his claim that the U.S. is experiencing deflation.
Not only is Moore clueless about the economy, he managed to find his way onto CNN after the Charlottesville rally in 2017 to defend Robert E. Lee and argue the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery.
Though Republican senators may be souring on the prospect of confirming Moore to the Federal Reserve Board, Trump hasn’t been deterred. “The president stands behind him,” White House Adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters on Tuesday.
Despite the president’s confidence, as of Tuesday afternoon it doesn’t appear the Senate is ready to confirm Moore. “No, he does not have the votes,” said Sen. Ernst. “He would not have enough votes. Don’t bother sending [the nomination] up. That’s all I gotta say.”
This post has been updated.