Trump's Fed pick Stephen Moore withdraws candidacy

President Trump said Thursday that his most recent Federal Reserve board pick Stephen Moore has withdrawn his bid.

“Steve Moore, a great pro-growth economist and a truly fine person, has decided to withdraw from the Fed process,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Steve won the battle of ideas, including tax cuts and deregulation, which have produced non-inflationary prosperity for all Americans. I’ve asked Steve to work with me toward future economic growth in our country.”

Moore came under intense scrutiny last week for his past writings on women, including several opinion pieces published on the website of the conservative National Review magazine in 2001, 2002 and 2003 in which he wrote that women should be banned from refereeing, announcing or bartending at men’s college basketball games. And in 2014, in a column he penned for National Review, Moore criticized a gender pay equality proposal from a Democratic senator, calling it a “laughably bad idea.”

“The crisis in America today isn’t about women’s wages; it’s about men’s wages,” he wrote. “Men are still the chief breadwinners in most families, and their wages are not moving much at all.”

This week, he also walked back a joke he made in 2016 about the Obamas leaving the White House; shortly after Trump's victory in the November election, Moore said: “There’s that great cartoon going along, that New York Times headline: ‘First thing Donald Trump does as president is kick a black family out of public housing.’ And it has Obama leaving the White House. I mean, I just love that one.”

“I shouldn’t have said it,” Moore said Tuesday on PBS’s “Firing Line with Margaret Hoover.”

In a statement on Thursday, Moore thanked Trump for asking him to serve on the Fed's board, before segueing into his candidacy withdrawal

"Your confidence in me makes what I am about to say much harder," he said. "I am respectfully asking that you withdraw my name from consideration. 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 had not officially nominated Moore, but several Republican senators -- including Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and John Thune, R-S.D., indicated they would not support him, jeopardizing his bid.

Earlier in the day, Moore broke with the president, telling Bloomberg that he did not think the Fed should cut interest rates by a full percentage point and impose quantitative easing, as Trump suggested on Tuesday.

“I’m not so sure I agree with the White House that we should cut rates by an entire percentage point,” Moore told Bloomberg. “I just don’t see the case for that right now.”

Moore told The Wall Street Journal during an interview last week that if he became a political liability, he would withdraw from consideration.

“I don’t want to be a liability,” Moore told the Journal. “Why should we risk a Senate seat for a Federal Reserve board person, you know? I mean that just doesn’t make any sense.”

Trump announced his plans to nominate Moore to the board in March. Like the president, Moore has been a frequent critic of both monetary policy set by the U.S. central bank and its chairman, Jerome Powell.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on the president to nominate "two serious" candidates, after accusations that Trump was trying to politicize the independent U.S. central bank.

“First, Cain. Now, Moore," Schumer said in a statement. "Thank goodness neither were actually nominated. 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."

The president's other pick to fill the two vacancies on the Fed's seven-member board -- Herman Cain -- backed out from the nomination process last week after facing similar dissent from four Republican senators. Controversy surrounded Cain, the former Republican presidential candidate, because of multiple sexual harassment allegations against him, most of which dated back to when he served as CEO of Godfather's Pizza.