WASHINGTON (CN) – Stephen Moore, President Donald Trump’s choice to serve on the Federal Reserve Board, withdrew from consideration for the position on Thursday in the face of widespread opposition from lawmakers over his experience and controversial comments and past writings.
“Steve Moore, a great pro-growth economist and a truly fine person, has decided to withdraw from the Fed process,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “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 is the second possible Trump Federal Reserve pick to withdraw in less than a month, as former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain pulled from consideration last month after it became clear his nomination was likely doomed as well.
Moore, a writer and economic commentator, was never formally nominated to the position, but his chances of taking the job took a hit when controversial past comments and writings resurfaced in recent weeks. These included a column in which Moore said women should not be able to referee college basketball games, a line he insisted was a joke.
He also made a joke in 2016 about Trump replacing former President Barack Obama, referencing a cartoon that said Trump was kicking a black family “out of public housing.”
“There’s that great cartoon going along, that The New York Times headline: ‘First thing Donald Trump does as president is kick a black family out of public housing,” Moore said in a speech, according to CNN. “And it has Obama leaving the White House. I mean, I just love that one.”
Moore told CNN that he “shouldn’t have said it.”
But Moore slowly lost support from key senators, making his confirmation appear increasingly unlikely.
“I think that was probably a wise decision,” Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters Thursday, referring to Moore’s nomination.
When asked if there was any lesson the White House should take out of Moore’s failed nomination, Graham replied wryly, “vet better.”