Stephen Moore: GOP senators shouldn't 'walk the plank' for me

Stephen Moore said Friday that he would step aside from his possible nomination to the Federal Reserve if his controversial commentary on women would hurt the Republican Party.

Moore, in a Friday interview with Fox News’s Neil Cavuto, said he would be easily confirmed to the Fed board if the consideration was based just on his views on economic policy.

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“If this a debate about my economic credentials and economic record, I’m going to win 55 to 60 votes,” Moore said on “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” calling himself a victim of “character assassination.”

But Moore also said he was willing to step down if necessary to protect GOP senators who might otherwise have a tough vote, a point he previously made this week in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

“This should not be a tough vote,” Moore said. “It’s not worth Republicans losing two or three seats to walk the plank for me.

“If I do become a liability to the Republicans, I would withdraw from the race,” he added.

Moore, who President TrumpDonald John TrumpPresenting the 2020 Democratic bracket The time has come for the Democrats to act, finally DHS expedites border wall replacement in Arizona, Texas MORE floated for a Fed nomination in March, has been fiercely criticized for columns he wrote in the early 2000s, including one in which he spoke out against the presence of women in sports.

In the Fox interview, he was apologetic over those writings, but he also suggested it represented just a small portion of his commentary and that he was being treated unfairly.

“If you go back 15, 18, 20 years as reporters are doing and look at things I’ve written in terms of the thousands of articles and hundreds and hundreds of media appearances I’ve done, and speeches, you’ll maybe be able to find things that I said that were impolitic,” Moore said Friday.

“Some of the statements I made about women in a column 18 years ago I’ve been very apologetic about. I wish I hadn’t written it,” he said.

Moore in a 2002 column wrote that there should be “no more women refs, no women announcers, no women beer vendors, no women anything.”

He then wrote that there should be an exception for a woman who looked like the sports reporter Bonnie Bernstein. “The fact that Bonnie knows nothing about basketball is entirely irrelevant,” he wrote.

Moore initially defended the writings by saying he had a sense of humor.

Moore has also been criticized for his close ties to Trump, raising fears he would be more loyal to the president than the Fed’s dual mandate of stable prices and maximum sustainable employment.

He called for the firing of top Fed officials and hundreds of staff economist after the central bank raised interest rates in December amid volatile financial markets. The Fed has since paused rate hikes and financial markets have rebounded to record highs.

Moore said he would “of course” vote to raise interest rates if he saw inflation coming, but has argued that prices have actually fallen in the U.S. despite government data indicating slow increases.

“Inflation hurts the economy, but I would also make the case to you, Neil, that deflation hurts the economy,” Moore said. “That’s the whole reason the economy was so poor in late 2018.”

Prices gradually rose throughout 2018, according to federal data, but lower than the Fed’s 2 percent annual target range.

Herman Cain, another controversial figure Trump floated as a possible Fed nominee, recently withdrew from consideration.

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