Stephen Moore of The Heritage Foundation is interviewed by CQ in his Washington office, August 31, 2016.
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images

The end of an error: Trump’s Fed pick withdraws, concluding fiasco

As recently as this morning, Stephen Moore, Donald Trump’s choice for the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, gave every indication that he was optimistic about his nomination. “I’m all in,” the Republican pundit told Bloomberg News. He added that he’d spoken with White House staff yesterday, and “they’re all in” as well.

Just to drive the point home, Moore went on to make similar comments to the Wall Street Journal – also this morning – making clear that his nomination was full speed ahead.

About an hour after saying he was “all in,” Moore was out.

Stephen Moore, the former campaign adviser whom President Donald Trump had been considering for a seat on the Federal Reserve, has withdrawn his name from consideration, Trump said Thursday. […]

In a letter to Trump, Moore said he was “respectfully asking that you withdraw my name from consideration” due to “unrelenting attacks on my character” that “have become untenable for me and my family.”

Moore added that “3 more months of this would be too hard on us.”

This is entirely speculative, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if Moore didn’t know he was withdrawing when the president announced that Moore was withdrawing.

Regardless, I’m of the opinion that Moore almost certainly would’ve been confirmed were it not for his cringe-worthy record on economic issues, his misogyny, his unfamiliarity with the Fed, his ignorance on monetary policy, his sycophantic partisanship, his many personal controversies, his reputation as a charlatan and a hack, and his total lack of qualifications and experience.

Indeed, were it not for the fact that Moore was a uniquely ridiculous choice for the Federal Reserve, this fiasco wouldn’t have been nearly so embarrassing.

In terms of the broader takeaways from this unfortunate series of events, we could talk about how Moore’s selection is emblematic of the fact that Trump’s presidency seems to be getting worse. Or we could explore the rarity of this president’s failed choices for key positions.

But something Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said this afternoon struck me as especially important. Asked about the possible lessons for the White House in the wake of the Moore fiasco, the GOP senator said, “Read people’s articles that they write would be a good start.”

That’s a good line. It’s also true.

As regular readers may recall, even the way in which Trump choose Moore was unfortunate. Moore co-wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal in March, complaining that the Federal Reserve has prevented the economy from reaching new heights. The piece, which was built on a foundation of falsehoods, was largely forgettable and didn’t cause much of a stir.

It did, however, reach an important audience. Larry Kudlow, the director of Donald Trump’s National Economic Council, not only liked the op-ed, he proceeded to show it to the president. Whether Trump read the piece or not is unclear – let’s not guess – but either way, the Republican reportedly decided on the spot that appointing Moore to the Federal Reserve Board would be a good idea.

It was not.

Going forward, when there’s an important vacancy, maybe someone in the West Wing could … I don’t know … spend 30 seconds on Google before choosing a nominee?

Donald Trump, Federal Reserve and White House

The end of an error: Trump's Fed pick withdraws, concluding fiasco