A Republican senator expressed doubts Monday about supporting Stephen Moore to join the Federal Reserve board and other GOP lawmakers were decidedly noncommittal, suggesting that President Donald Trump’s selection for the post might be in trouble.
Lawmakers’ comments came as the White House said controversial comments by Moore were being reviewed. The longtime conservative commentator has written demeaning observations about women, such as wondering why “they showed up in droves in tight skirts” to college parties if they were “so oppressed and offended by drunken, lustful frat boys.”
“Look at his writings. I’m not enthused. I’m a woman, right here folks,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, a member of the Senate GOP leadership, told reporters. Ernst faces re-election next year.
“I hope the people who go on the Fed are economists and not partisan,” said Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, a freshman who has had differences with Trump. “I’m reviewing his record, his columns and so forth and we’ll have something for you when I’m ready.”
However, Moore still has the backing of Trump, according to adviser Kellyanne Conway.
“I’m a strong successful woman who’s worked with Stephen Moore for decades,” she said. “I know how he feels about women, how he treats women in the workplace.”
Several other Republican senators said they were still making up their minds.
“Looking into it. We’ll be thoughtful,” said Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she will “do my homework.” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said, “I think a lot of his philosophies” but added, “Some of his public statements probably need to be further vetted.”
Republicans control the Senate 53-47 and Democrats are likely to oppose Moore solidly. It would take as few as four GOP senators to oppose him to prevent him from joining the Fed board, which oversees the work of the nation’s central bank.
Earlier this month, Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, withdrew his name for consideration for another opening on the Fed’s board amid GOP opposition. Cain was facing a rejuvenation of allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity that arose during his unsuccessful campaign for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination. Cain has denied the accusations.
Trump has said he supports Moore for the post but has not yet formally nominated him.
“When we have an update on that front we’ll let you know,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
Moore told ABC on Monday that he regrets some articles he’s written, but urged critics to focus on his economic record. He said he stands by his economic positions but added that if his nomination became too much of a liability to GOP senators, “I would withdraw.”
In a CNBC interview Tuesday, Moore said the president and the White House economics team are “totally behind me.”
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