President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser reaffirmed the administration’s support for Stephen Moore as his vetting for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors continues.
Larry Kudlow, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, said, “We continue to back Stephen Moore, continue to back him.”
Earlier this week, CNN’s KFile reported that Moore had written in columns for the National Review that women should be banned from refereeing, announcing or beer vending at men’s college basketball games.
He also criticized female athletes advocating for pay equality, writing that they wanted “equal pay for inferior work.”
“This was a spoof. I have a sense of humor,” Moore said in an email to CNN.
Moore, a longtime conservative commentator and former Wall Street Journal editorial board member, compared himself in radio interviews Tuesday to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose confirmation last year was marked by allegations he had committed sexual assault as a teenager.
In an interview with the North Dakota radio program “The Flag” on Tuesday, Moore said he had been subjected to “a kind of character assassination that has nothing to do with economics.”
“They have six full-time investigative reporters looking into me at The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN. You know, Scott, I kind of wear it as a badge of honor that they’re so afraid of me,” said Moore, a former CNN contributor.
He added: “They’re pulling a Kavanaugh against me.”
Earlier this week, Trump’s other pick for the Fed’s influential interest rate-setting board, former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, withdrew from consideration. Cain cited the pay cut associated with the move but had also faced the revival of harassment allegations that effectively ended his 2012 White House bid.
Kudlow had said before Cain’s withdrawal that it would be up to the former restaurant executive whether to proceed. The National Economic Council director was more supportive of Moore at the time, though he told reporters last week, “We’ll just let things play out in the vetting.”
Moore has also faced questions about his reversals on economic policy positions once Trump – a vocal critic of the Fed’s interest-rate hikes last year – took office, as well as about his own finances, which include open tax liens.
Kudlow brushed those concerns aside.
“Stephen, we continue to back Stephen Moore, continue to back him. He’s in the process being vetted by the FBI and so forth, and if he gets through that, we will nominate him formally and then he’ll go to the Senate Banking Committee and they’ll vet him also,” Kudlow said.
Asked if Trump is concerned about coverage of Moore’s comments, Kudlow joked, “Well, I’d hate to have a paper trail. His paper trail is almost as long as my paper trail. Or video trail.”
But he said he believed Moore’s statement that his previous comments were a joke, calling Moore a “wiseass.”
“He says it was a spoof. That’s what he’s told me – I do buy it. I know him; he’s kind of a great sense of humor wiseass kind of guy, what can I tell ya? I don’t think it’s germane. I don’t think he was making a statement. I think he was making a spoof. Our support is still there, still there,” Kudlow said.
He added that the administration continues to interview candidates for the open seat, but would not share names.