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Another Trump pick for Fed withdraws

CONTROVERSIAL CHOICES:The US president’s nominations of Moore and Cain have been viewed as an attempt to place pressure on the Federal Reserve from the inside

AFP, WASHINGTON

US President Donald Trump’s latest choice to become a member of the US Federal Reserve board on Thursday withdrew from consideration — his fourth pick to fail to make it through the process.

Conservative economic commentator Stephen Moore had faced mounting criticism over his qualifications and past comments. The withdrawal suggested the president is facing difficulty in installing loyalists at the central bank.

“Steve Moore, a great pro-growth economist and a truly fine person, has decided to withdraw from the Fed process,” Trump said on Twitter, moments after Moore told Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal that he would stay in the race.

Another candidate, businessman and long-shot presidential candidate Herman Cain, last week pulled out of the process to fill one of two remaining openings on the central bank board.

Trump has repeatedly ignored norms designed to protect the independent Fed from political influence, which could undermine its credibility, lambasting the central bank for raising interest rates and even this week calling for a drastic cut.

In that atmosphere, his nominations of Moore and Cain were viewed by some as an attempt to bring pressure from the inside.

They also were criticized for their lack of qualifications, including by Republicans in the US Senate.

Five of the 53 Republicans in the 100-member chamber told reporters that there were serious problems with Moore’s candidacy.

US Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican, hardened her opposition after the emergence of articles and speeches by Moore over the years, some of which have been criticized as sexist or trafficking in racism.

US Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said Moore never should have been considered.

“First, Cain. Now, Moore. Thank goodness neither were actually nominated,” Schumer said in a statement. “The only thing less funny than some of Mr Moore’s tasteless, offensive, sexist ‘jokes’ was the idea that President Trump would even consider him for a seat on the Federal Reserve.”

Moore, a 59-year-old economic and political commentator, advised Trump when he was running for president and has publicly shared his opposition to raising interest rates, calling the last hike in December last year “economic malpractice.”

Moore recently had tried to walk back some of his comments about women, such as complaints that women’s wage gains could pose a danger to families by outpacing those of men.

In a letter informing Trump of his withdrawal, Moore defended the economic policies that he championed, but decried the withering criticism he faced.

“Trumponomics has been VINDICATED,” Moore wrote.

However, the “unrelenting attacks on my character have become untenable for me and my family and three more months of this would be too hard on us.”

Trump said on Twitter he had asked Moore “to work with me toward future economic growth in our Country.”

The Fed has a seven-member board, but has had openings for many months.

Former Fed staffer Nellie Liang, another Trump nominee for the Fed, dropped out in January, while economist Marvin Goodfriend’s nomination died in the Senate last year and was not resubmitted.

However, Trump has named three Fed members to the board, including Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida, and also promoted Jerome Powell to his post as chairman.

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