President TrumpDonald John TrumpKoch network launches ad campaign opposing Trump’s proposed gas tax Trump laments EU ‘being so tough’ on Brexit Inslee knocks Trump for wind turbine remarks MORE’s top economic adviser said Thursday that the president still supports his pick of Herman Cain to serve on the Federal Reserve Board, despite opposition from several GOP senators.
White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said during an interview with The Hill’s Bob Cusack that the Trump administration supports Cain “at the moment,” pending the results of an FBI background check.
“As the president said yesterday, he continues to support [Cain] and we’ll see how that turns out,” Kudlow said during an interview for The Hill’s Newsmaker Series.
“He’s in the process, we’ll let him go through it, the president insists on that,” Kudlow added.
Trump said last week he intends to nominate Cain, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, for a spot on the Fed board, assuming he clears the White House vetting process.
The president told reporters Wednesday that Cain is a “wonderful man,” but acknowledged doubts about the viability of his nomination amid opposition from some Republicans.
“He’s been a supporter of mine for a long time,” Trump said. “As to how he’s doing in the process, that I don’t know. You go through a process. But Herman is a great guy, and I hope he does well.”
Republican senators have publicly and privately asked Trump to reconsider Cain, citing his close political ties to the president and allegations of sexual harassment that helped derail Cain’s past White House bid.
Four women who worked for Cain at the National Restaurant Association, a Washington trade group he led from 1996 to 1998, accused him of sexual harassment. Cain has denied all of the allegations but reached financial settlements with two of his accusers.
GOP Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOn The Money — Presented by Job Creators Network — Treasury misses Dem deadline on Trump tax returns | Senate GOP opposition to Cain grows | Dems challenge bank CEOs on post-crisis reforms Senate GOP opposition to Cain grows On The Money — Presented by Job Creators Network — GOP senators urge Trump not to nominate Cain | Treasury expected to miss Dem deadline on Trump tax returns | Party divisions force Dems to scrap budget vote | House passes IRS reform bill MORE (Alaska), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOn The Money — Presented by Job Creators Network — Treasury misses Dem deadline on Trump tax returns | Senate GOP opposition to Cain grows | Dems challenge bank CEOs on post-crisis reforms Senate GOP opposition to Cain grows The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump seeks tougher rules on asylum seekers MORE (Utah) and Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerOn The Money — Presented by Job Creators Network — Treasury misses Dem deadline on Trump tax returns | Senate GOP opposition to Cain grows | Dems challenge bank CEOs on post-crisis reforms Senate GOP opposition to Cain grows How Trump could take pot legalization away from Dems in 2020 MORE (Colo.) said Wednesday that they would oppose Cain, whose nomination would be defeated if one more Republican voted against him, assuming all Democrats oppose him.
Kudlow played down the allegations against Cain on Thursday, but ceded that the FBI background check would likely reveal anything of concern.
“This town is full of allegations. Sometimes they’re true. Sometimes they’re completely untrue,” Kudlow said. “All I will say, when the FBI vets, they vet pretty good.”
Republicans have also raised concerns about Cain’s close political ties to Trump. Cain has fiercely advocated for the president on his radio show and website, and recently started a super PAC to support Trump’s reelection.
Some GOP senators say they fear Cain and Stephen Moore, a former Trump campaign adviser whom the president has also floated for the Fed, would hinder the central bank’s independence.
Trump has regularly bashed the Fed and its chairman, Jerome Powell, for raising interest rates throughout his term in a bid to avoid rapid inflation and remove stimulus from the strong economy.
The president has called the Fed the “greatest threat” to the U.S. economy and urged the central bank to boost the economy through rate cuts.
Kudlow dismissed concerns that Cain and Moore would politicize the Fed and defended Trump’s criticism of the central bank.
“Look, it’s obviously well known that the president does not agree with the last couple of rate hikes. I agree with the president on this,” Kudlow said, adding that he’d like the Fed to reverse those moves “when they are ready.”