Fed Nominee Stephen Moore Has History of Controversial Remarks About Women
Stephen Moore, who has been nominated to a seat on the Federal Reserve Board by President Trump. has a history of controversial remarks about women.
Stephen Moore, the conservative economist and pundit who is on Donald Trump’s list for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board is facing questionsabout previous writings and comments about women and women’s sports:
WASHINGTON — Stephen Moore, the economic adviser President Trump plans to nominate to the Federal Reserve, wrote in a 2000 column that “radical feminists” had turned white men into an “oppressed minority” on college campuses, warning parents against sending their daughters to schools that devote resources to women’s studies and black history programs.
“Colleges are places for rabble-rousing,” Mr. Moore wrote for The Washington Times. “For men to lose their boyhood innocence. To do stupid things. To stay out way too late drinking. To chase skirts. (At the University of Illinois, we used to say that the best thing about Sunday nights was sleeping alone.) It’s all a time-tested rite of passage into adulthood. And the women seemed to survive just fine. If they were so oppressed and offended by drunken, lustful frat boys, why is it that on Friday nights they showed up in droves in tight skirts to the keg parties?”
Mr. Moore is a longtime economic commentator and writer, who has worked for conservative think tanks and The Wall Street Journal editorial board, and founded the anti-tax Club for Growth. Mr. Trump has not yet formally nominated him for one of the two open positions at the Fed; he is currently undergoing White House vetting. Over his career, Mr. Moore has endeared himself to many Republicans through columns, speeches and television appearances, in which he skewers liberals and high tax rates with glee.
That history in some ways buoys Mr. Moore’s chances of winning confirmation in the Senate: Many Republicans have long known and liked him, and several have said they will support him, even though Democrats call Mr. Moore a partisan warrior and warn he would be a loyalist to Mr. Trump on an independent Fed.
But Mr. Moore’s long paper and video trail also contains potential roadblocks to confirmation — particularly a history of writing about women in unflattering terms. While many of the columns are written with sarcasm, they contain controversial statements that could raise questions about Mr. Moore’s actual views toward women. Mr. Moore has already been criticized by Democrats for his failure to pay more than $300,000 in child support to his ex-wife, Allison Moore, which resulted in Mr. Moore being held in contempt of court in 2013.
In a column reprinted in the Ottawa Citizen in 1998, Mr. Moore complained about coed youth soccer games, which he called “a giant social experiment imposed upon us by the geniuses that have put women in combat in the military. No one seems to care much that coed sports is doing irreparable harm to the psyche of America’s little boys.” He called a kindergartner in his son’s soccer league, named Kate Lynn, “Secretariat in pig tails.”
In a series of columns for National Review in the early 2000s, Mr. Moore mocked female athletes and proposed, in what he says was a joke, that women be barred from officiating, announcing or even serving beer at N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament games. “Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women?” he wrote in 2002. “What’s next? Women invited to bachelor parties? Women in combat? (Oh yeah, they’ve done that already.)”
In 2014, Mr. Moore critiqued a Democratic proposal to combat gender discrimination in a column for National Review. “The crisis in America today isn’t about women’s wages; it’s about men’s wages,” he wrote.
“What are the implications of a society in which women earn more than men?” he wrote. “We don’t really know, but it could be disruptive to family stability. If men aren’t the breadwinners, will women regard them as economically expendable? We saw what happened to family structure in low-income and black households when a welfare check took the place of a father’s paycheck. Divorce rates go up when men lose their jobs.”
In 2017, Mr. Moore drew criticism from fellow panelists during a discussion of sexual harassment on CNN, where he passed along what he said had been advice from a leading corporate executive: not to meet with a woman without a third-party present.
“He said to me about two or three years ago something that I thought was very good advice for people who run companies,” Mr. Moore said, “and this is a very good advice, is that I would never have a meeting with a woman without someone else in the room. You all — and this is — unfortunately, this is where we’re at today. If you are in a position of power, a Bill O’Reilly, a Donald Trump, anyone who is running a company, you cannot be —”
His fellow panelists cut him off, saying such a policy could negatively affect women.
“If you’re in a position of power,” Mr. Moore said, “it’s probably not a good idea.”
Mr. Moore also wrote several parodies of the traditional family “Christmas letter,” in which he referred to himself in the third person as “Steve” and listed various complaints about his family. In 2001, he wrote that he had bought a new Camaro convertible, and that his young children were impeding his attempts at “hitting on girls” while driving around:
“On more than one occasion Steve has been cruising around town with the top down and a gorgeous 20-something blond has pulled up beside him: he looks longingly at her, she gives him a ‘come hither look,’ and then the mood is spoiled when she sees David drooling in the baby seat and then Justin and Will start making weird faces at her,” he wrote.
“She sticks her finger in her mouth and zooms off and Steve is left screaming at the kids: ‘How many times do I have to tell you tyrants to stay out of sight when I’m hitting on girls?’ And then Will, with a puzzled look on his face says, ‘but daddy, we already have a mommy.’ And then Steve says, ‘Yes, but imagine, just for a moment, how nice it would be if you had a much younger mommy.'”
To be frank, Moore’s writings on these subjects are not unfamiliar or uncommon in conservative circles. Indeed, these seem to reflect a prevailing zeitgeist among even conservative women that the most oppressed minority in the country is the white, conservative, male. The sarcastic tone of many of his articles about women is also similar to that which one sees from several conservatives who have written about similar topics over the years. In that respect, I suppose that there is nothing per se controversial about what Moore has written except for the fact that it makes him out to be something of a male chauvinist, which is quite honestly not uncommon among conservatives.
Despite this record, it doesn’t appear that Moore is likely to follow the fate of Herman Cain, whose controversial nomination was dropped by the White House on Monday after it became apparent that there was insufficient Republican support for his nomination. Unlike the Cain situation. there don’t appear to be any Republican defections on Moore’s nomination and the fact that he is a well-known conservative pundit who has developed deep relationships with Republicans and conservatives over the years is likely to help his nomination make it through the Senate. We may see remarks like this impact the votes of people like Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, but unless there are more defections than that Moore is likely to be confirmed.