White House Looking For Replacements For Controversial Federal Reserve Nominees

The White House appears to be preparing for the worst when it comes to the nominations of Herman Cain and Stephen Moore to the Federal Reserve Board.

The White House is reportedly looking for a way out of the political trouble it finds itself in with respect to two nominees to the Federal Reserve Board that even many Republican Senators are saying are a bridge too far:

The White House is interviewing candidates to potentially replace Herman Cain and Stephen Moore as Donald Trump‘s picks for the Federal Reserve Board, the president’s top economic adviser said.

Cain, the former pizza company executive who ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, must decide for himself whether to withdraw from consideration for a Fed job, Larry Kudlow said Tuesday at the White House.

“At the end of the day, it will probably be up to Herman Cain if he wants to stay in that process or not,” Kudlow told reporters. “As far as we are concerned he is still in the process and it is proceeding.”

Asked whether the White House is interviewing anyone to potentially replace Cain and Moore, Kudlow said, “We are talking to a number of candidates. We always do.” Politico earlier reported that other candidates were being interviewed.

Cain said in a video posted on Facebook earlier this month that he faced a “cumbersome” vetting process for the Fed seat, suggesting he may be considering withdrawing. His campaign for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination ended in 2011 after he was accused of sexual harassment when he led the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s and of infidelity.

Republican senators have signaled there isn’t enough support to confirm Cain for the job. Trump has privately said he knows Cain would have trouble getting confirmed but wants to wait for the FBI to finish its background check before he makes his decision on whether to formally nominate him, people familiar with the matter have said.

Asked last week whether Cain’s nomination was “safe,” Trump told reporters: “Herman will make that determination.”

Confirming both of these nominees would seem to be a matter of course for a Republican-controlled Senate where Presidential nominees now need only a simple majority to be confirmed rather than facing the prospect of having to overcome a sixty-vote cloture motion. However, the nominations of both Cain and Moore have run into early problems even among Republican Senators that could imperil both candidacies.

In Cain’s case, the problems relate both to the allegations of sexual misconduct that arose during the 2020 campaign and the fact that there are serious concerns about his qualifications for the job in question, which appear to be limited to say the very least. As for Stephen Moore, in addition to the litany of reasons that argue against Moore’s nomination that Steven Taylor makes note of in a recent blog post, he also faces problems with the Internal Revenue Service related to payments to his ex-wife which he contends were for child support.

At the moment it appears that Cain’s nomination is the one that is most imperiled. At least four Republicans have come out against it, which would appear to be enough on its own to sink the nomination unless some Democrats come around to support Cain, which seems unlikely at this point. Moore’s nomination seems somewhat more secure but the controversies surrounding him appear to be mounting and that is causing the White House to start to look elsewhere for a potential replacement nominee. The fact that they are even starting that process strongly suggests that we’ll see one or both nominations withdrawn before we even get to the hearings stage.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Ohhhh…I can’t wait to see Plan B!!!
    Glenn Beck, selling gold?
    Grover Norquist?
    Maybe Laffer, himself?

  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    People, we are suffering a national shortage of corrupt, spineless, amoral sycophants willing to work for a senile mob boss.

  3. Kathy says:

    Duh. Just put in acting Federal Reserve Board Governors.

  4. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Oh, thanks, pal. I just sprayed the screen of my computer with vodka martini.

  5. SenyorDave says:

    I’m wondering what is in the backgrounds of Cain and Moore that would make the Republicans vote against them. Being a Trump suck-up scam artist by itself would not disqualify them. I’m guessing Cain’s sexual assault/harassment women have already come forward, and Moore had a nasty divorce so he probably has personal issues as well. It certainly could not have had anything to do with lack of professional qualifications. That is almost a requirement for a Trump appointee.

  6. CSK says:

    @SenyorDave: It’s not so much the lack of professional qualifications that matters to Trump. Do Ivanka and Jared have any professional creds that would qualify them to occupy the positions they do? Of course they don’t. They got the jobs they did because they’re family and because (at least in Trump’s view) 100% loyal to him. That is the only qualification that matters to Trump. Are you totally loyal to him? Will you break the law and violate even the most minimal ethical standards to defend him? Are you willing to grovel to him and slobber shamelessly over him? If you are, you’re in.

  7. Joe says:

    I am going to hope you are in a later time zone and not just day drinking.

    I have wondered whether Trump put first Moore and then Cain forward just to troll the Republican senate with a game of “how low can you go.” I am slightly buoyed up by the idea that enough Republican senators might actually have responded, “not this low.”

  8. CSK says:

    @Joe: Nope, I’m about as far east as you can get without sitting in the Atlantic Ocean, and the cocktail hour here is well underway.

    I don’t think Trump has the kind of humor that would permit trolling of his alleged associates. In fact, I don’t think he has any kind of humor at all–he’s too stupid, and humor requires intelligence. I do think that he derives sadistic pleasure from making fun of people’s supposed physical shortcomings, which is about what you’d expect from a pig-eyed, anus-mouthed, turkey-wattled bucket of orange blubber.

  9. @Joe:

    I am slightly buoyed up by the idea that enough Republican senators might actually have responded, “not this low.”


  10. An Interested Party says:

    This is really pathetic…I mean, it’s one thing to be a sideshow attraction, but to not even have basic competency? What a ridiculous way to run a government, and yet another example, among many, many, many others that this buffoon is unfit to hold any role in the federal government, much less that as the head of the Executive Branch…

  11. steve says:

    Laffer , Beck and Norquist might make some people happy, but I think you are aiming way too high. The following would suit his tastes, and those of his followers much better.

    The morning team from Fox News could fill one slot. No reason he has to nominate just one person for each position. If he nominates the whole team, and they all hold hands, they could surely generate enough synapses to have an above average IQ. He knows they will do whatever Trump wants so even better.

    Clint Eastwood. A seat is pretty much the same thing as a chair and we know that Eastwood is enamored of chairs. Besides, it would put one person on the board even more senile than Trump, and everyone needs somebody to look down on.

    Oliver North. He both has a good understanding of international finance, on a very personal and experienced level AND he knows about guns. We need someone with guns to help guard all that money at the Fed which is really just a big bank.


  12. Sleeping Dog says:

    Off topic, but with the pending release of the Mueller report…

    Is Trump a Russian Agent?: Explaining Terms of Art and Examining the Facts

    John Sipher at Just Security

  13. KM says:


    I’m wondering what is in the backgrounds of Cain and Moore that would make the Republicans vote against them.

    It’s more that this position has the ability to screw up their money and thus they want someone who’s not a completely unqualified moron / sycophant in charge. For things like Homeland Security or Interior or DOJ? Pfft, they’re rich – if the idiot screws it up too badly, they can always move. But mess with the money in any way? Oh hells no – they actually care about that.

    It’s funny where conservatives suddenly find their spines. It’s right about where you start seeing stacks of bills they consider theirs that could be unfortunately lit on fire by the wrong person.

  14. Tyrell says:

    I will withhold my usual comments concerning the secrecy and power of the Federal Reserve.

  15. Mister Bluster says:

    @Tyrell:..I will withhold my usual comments concerning the secrecy and power of the Federal Reserve.

    What R U hiding?

  16. Tyrell says:

    @steve: How about Buffett?