Herman Cain told the Wall Street Journal he has no intentions of withdrawing himself from consideration for the Fed Board of Governors, despite lacking the Senate support to win approval should President Donald Trump follow through with his nomination.
“I don’t quit because of negative criticism. I don’t quit because of negative attacks. And I don’t quit because several senators have expressed reservations about my qualifications.”
In fact, Cain said he is “very committed” to sticking in the process of being vetted by the White House while it considers whether to formally nominate him. A Bloomberg report highlighted here on Money & Markets on Wednesday said the Trump administration is actively talking to other candidates following news there is a lack of enthusiasm on Capitol Hill for Cain and Stephen Moore, another candidate favored by Trump.
Cain said he wants to remain in the running because he believes “you need some new voices on the Federal Reserve.”
A path forward for Cain remains unclear after four GOP Senators, Mitt Romney of Utah, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, have all come out as opposed to Cain. The Senators have concerns over Cain’s conservative activism and the sexual misconduct allegations that derailed his bid for the White House in 2012.
West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, a red-state Democrat, also has come out against Cain, likely leaving no path for a 51-vote simple majority confirmation.
Unless they change their minds or a couple of Democrats suddenly come forward in favor of Cain, he doesn’t have much of a chance.
However, he plans to march on.
“I don’t quit because of negative criticism,” Mr. Cain said. “I don’t quit because of negative attacks. And I don’t quit because several senators have expressed reservations about my qualifications.”
White House officials have since taken a noncommittal tone about his prospects. Mr. Trump’s top economic adviser, Lawrence Kudlow, said Tuesday “it will probably be up to Herman Cain if he wants to stay in that process or not.”
Mr. Cain, during the interview at his office in suburban Atlanta, explained how Mr. Trump came to consider him. He said Mr. Kudlow called him in January and invited him to the White House to talk about the Fed with Mr. Trump, who had been criticizing the central bank for months over its 2018 interest-rate increases.
Mr. Cain said that after meeting first with Mr. Kudlow and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, he met with Messrs. Trump and Kudlow in the Oval Office. The meeting lasted about 30 minutes, during which Mr. Trump said he wanted someone with a business background for the Fed board.
“They didn’t tell me what they felt about it, they asked me how I feel about it. And I was able to share with them, ‘Well, there have been times when I felt that the Fed raised rates too quick,’ ” Mr. Cain said.
“The president asked me one simple question.…‘Would you consider doing this if you make it through the process?’ I said yes. Didn’t hesitate.”
Within days, Mr. Kudlow said Mr. Cain was being considered for the job.
The weeks passed. Mr. Kudlow called once to say, “Hang in there….The president and I are still behind you,” Mr. Cain said, adding that he wasn’t sure when that was. And then, on April 4, Mr. Trump announced publicly that he wanted Mr. Cain for the job.