One of President Donald Trump’s picks to serve on the Federal Reserve Board has written that women should be banned from refereeing, announcing or beer vending at men’s college basketball games, asking if there was any area in life “where men can take vacation from women.”
Stephen Moore, an economic commentator and former Trump campaign adviser, made those and similar comments in several columns reviewed by CNN’s KFile that were published on the website of the conservative National Review magazine in 2001, twice in 2002 and 2003.
In a 2000 column, Moore complained about his wife voting for Democrats, writing, “Women are sooo malleable! No wonder there’s a gender gap.” In another column in 2000, Moore criticized female athletes advocating for pay equality, writing that they wanted “equal pay for inferior work.”
Moore, who subsequently worked as a Wall Street Journal editorial board member, was at the time the president of the Club for Growth, a conservative political organization. He was a CNN contributor from 2017 until last month.
Moore told CNN’s KFile in an email, “This was a spoof. I have a sense of humor.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The columns are attracting renewed attention as his prior views and statements face scrutiny ahead of what could be a contentious confirmation process to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Trump said in March he intends to nominate Moore to the position, but Moore has not officially been nominated yet.
The resurfaced comments come as Trump tweeted Monday that his other pick for a seat on Fed board, Herman Cain, had withdrawn from consideration amid renewed scrutiny over allegations of sexual harassment that ended his 2012 presidential campaign. Cain has denied the allegations and repeatedly said he had no plans to remove himself from consideration, but he had no clear path for Senate approval after four Republican senators announced that they would not vote for him.
In one of his 2002 columns, Moore suggested changes to March Madness tournament to get rid of “un-American” aspects of it. The first rule proposed by Moore was “no women.”
“Here’s the rule change I propose: No more women refs, no women announcers, no women beer venders, no women anything,” he wrote in March 2002. “There is, of course, an exception to this rule. Women are permitted to participate, if and only if, they look like Bonnie Bernstein. The fact that Bonnie knows nothing about basketball is entirely irrelevant.” He later wrote that Bernstein, a CBS sports journalist at the time, should wear halter tops.
Earlier the column, Moore expressed disgust at a woman refereeing an NCAA game.
“How outrageous is this? This year they allowed a woman ref a men’s NCAA game. Liberals celebrate this breakthrough as a triumph for gender equity,” Moore wrote. “The NCAA has been touting this as example of how progressive they are. I see it as an obscenity. Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women? What’s next? Women invited to bachelor parties? Women in combat? (Oh yeah, they’ve done that already.) Why can’t women ref he women’s games and men the men’s games. I can’t wait to see the first lady ref have a run in with Bobby Knight.”
Moore wrote that this was part of the “bigger and more serious social problem in America” which was “the feminization of basketball generally.” Moore added he didn’t care about watching women’s basketball and he was upset games were shown on ESPN.
“And while I’m venting on the subject, here’s another travesty: in playground games and rec leagues these days, women now feel free to play with the men — uninvited in almost every case,” added Moore. “There’s no joy in dunking over a girl. Never mind that I can’t dunk (except on the eight-foot baskets). If I could, I wouldn’t celebrate dunking over someone named Tina.”
Moore addressed complaints about his column the 13 days later, mocking claims of sexism.
“Several readers (all women) have called and e-mailed complaining about my last column as ‘sexist’ because I said that women shouldn’t be permitted to ref the men’s game,” wrote Moore. “Their retort was: ‘Well then why should men ref the women’s games?’ Look, for all I care the women can use chimpanzees to ref their games. I hate women’s basketball.”
In another column in 2003, Moore again wrote there should be “no women announcers.” And in 2001, Moore wrote, “Another problem is that CBS now has women announcers and commentators. Is nothing sacred?”
Writing in another column in 2000, Moore said the real issue of inequality in sports was women making more than “collegiate level” men who Moore said “could beat them handily.”
“The women tennis pros don’t really want equal pay for equal work. They want equal pay for inferior work. There’s a very practical reason why Pete Sampras, for example, makes a lot more money than Martina Hingis does,” wrote Moore. “He’s much, much better than she is. The day that Martina can return Pete’s serve is the day she should get paid what he does. If there is an injustice in tennis, it’s that women like Martina Hingis and Monica Seles make millions of dollars a year, even though there are hundreds of men at the collegiate level (assuming their schools haven’t dropped the sport) who could beat them handily.”
“Yet these men make nothing. Venus Williams is a multi-millionaire not in spite of the fact that she is a women, but precisely because she’s a woman,” continued Moore. “She receives much higher pay than an equally skilled man. Isn’t that precisely the opposite of what is meant by pay equity?”
This story has been updated to reflect Trump’s announcement Monday afternoon that Cain was withdrawing from consideration.