For the second time in as many weeks, one of President Donald Trump’s nominees to sit on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors appears to be dead on arrival, as Republican lawmakers increasingly criticized Stephen Moore over his past writings and personal financial troubles.
Moore, a former Fox News economic pundit and shameless Trump stooge, has faced intense scrutiny over his statements, including lamenting the existance of female athletes, wanting to roll back child labor laws, and suggesting that the largest economic problem the U.S. faces is the decline in male earnings.
“His past writings are ridiculous,” Sen. Joni Ernst told reporters on Monday. “I’m not enthused about supporting him, let’s put it that way.”
On Tuesday, Ernst went a step farther, telling CNN that it is “very unlikely that I would support that person.”
Ernst isn’t the only Republican publicly voicing concerns about Moore. Speaking with CNN on Tuesday, staunch Trump ally Sen. Lindsay Graham said he’s “still looking at [Moore’s nomination]” but added it “would be very problematic.”
Sen. Susan Collins also didn’t shy away from criticizing Moore, telling Politico on Tuesday that it “appears that he has a lot of personal financial issues as well as troubling writings about women and our role in society and sports and also how he views the Federal Reserve.”
Senate Majority Whip John Thune was slightly more circumspect in his forecast for Moore’s chances, telling Politico that “these stories that have come out recently will be a good test about what the support level is up here.”
“If you have Joni [Ernst] and other members of our conference… as affected by some of these stories as she was, we’ll get a sense of that pretty quickly,” he added, which, while not a criticism of Moore in and of itself, is a pretty overt acknowledgement that his chances of landing at the Fed are in serious jeopardy. If four Republican senators defect from the president’s nominee, Moore’s nomination is toast.
If Moore’s selection does implode, it will be the second defeat for Trump, whose other nominee, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, withdrew himself from consideration last week. After taking himself out of the running, Cain insisted the move was because he didn’t realize he’d only be making six figures at the Fed. However, Cain’s nomination was tainted by a history of sexual harassment allegations against him.
Nevertheless, the White House appears to be standing by Moore for the time being, although speaking with reporters on Monday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave the administration some wiggle room to change its mind.
“Certainly we’re reviewing [Moore’s past] comments,” she said, adding that “when we have an update on that front we’ll let you know.”