The New York Times reported overnight that White House officials are doing what they should’ve done before the president threw his support behind the Republican pundit: they’re starting to vet his published works.
The White House is reviewing past writings by Stephen Moore, the conservative commentator whom President Trump plans to nominate to the Federal Reserve Board, amid criticism that many of his opinion columns denigrated women, and enthusiasm for his candidacy appeared to be waning among Republicans on Capitol Hill. […]
Mr. Moore apologized on Sunday for some, but not all, of his past writings in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” saying that he did not remember everything he had written over his career. “Frankly, I didn’t even remember writing some of these they were so long ago,” he said, adding that he was embarrassed by some of the pieces.
Mr. Moore has written that it may be dangerous for women to earn more than men and has criticized women’s athletic abilities. On Sunday, he tried to shift the focus from his writings to his critics, saying, “I think most fair-minded people think this has been kind of a sleaze campaign against me.”
If by “sleaze campaign,” Moore is referring to people quoting things he’s said and written, then his whining is well grounded.
Indeed, new revelations continue to come to the fore. The New York Times pointed to comments Moore made during a debate in 2016, in which he endorsed repeal of existing child-labor laws.
The article also highlighted comments Moore made in 2000, during a C-SPAN appearance. “It’s not a good thing that black women are making more than black men today,” Moore told a national television audience. “In fact, you know, the male needs to be the breadwinner of the family. One of the reasons you’ve seen the decline of the family, not just in the black community, but also it’s happening now in the white community as well, is because women are more economically self-sufficient.”
There’s no reason to believe this was intended to be funny.
All of this follows other recent revelations, including a 2017 incident in which Moore made absurd comments about Robert E. Lee and slavery.
Moore seems to believe he has a credible response to all of this: none of it matters. The only thing he should be judged on, Moore has argued, is his perspective on economic policy.
If that were true, it’d still be unpersuasive. Moore’s bizarre record on a wide variety of issues raises important doubts about his judgment.
But just as important is the fact that Moore’s complaint in no way reflects reality. His economic ideas have come under intense fire from, among others, me.
The Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell has done fantastic work on Moore’s Fed nomination, and she added this morning, in a rather brutal column, “Stephen Moore wants the media to pay less attention to his idiotic comments about gender and more attention to his idiotic comments about the economy. Sure thing, bro. Happy to help out.”
For what it’s worth, the White House still hasn’t formally sent Moore’s nomination to the Senate for consideration. There’s still time, in other words, to end this fiasco before it proceeds in earnest.