President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE on Thursday said he intends to nominate former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve Board, a move that would add a loyal political supporter to the central bank.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump called Cain an “outstanding person” but said his nomination has not yet been made official because he is undergoing a background check.
“I’ve told my folks that’s the man, and he’s doing some pre-checking now. I would imagine he’d be in great shape,” the president said.
Trump has been a vocal critic of the Fed, accusing it of slowing economic growth with its interest-rate hikes.The president tweeted last Friday that he thought the bank “mistakenly raised interest rates” and said “had they not done the ridiculously timed quantitative tightening,” gross domestic product growth and the stock market would “have both been much higher & World Markets would be in a better place!”
Cain waged an unsuccessful bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination after decades as a fast food executive and advocate for the restaurant industry in Washington.
He also served in several advisory roles for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City between 1989 to 1996, serving as the branch's chairman from 1995 to 1996.
Since Trump’s 2016 election, Cain has been a vocal advocate of the president through his Atlanta-based radio show and started a super PAC to support Trump’s reelection bid.
Cain’s nomination to the Fed would be subject to Senate confirmation and could be derailed by sexual harassment allegations that led him to end his 2012 presidential bid.
He suspended his campaign in December 2011 after four women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment. Two of the women worked for Cain while he led the National Restaurant Association, a trade group representing the food service industry.
A Georgia woman also claimed she had a 13-year affair with Cain, who has been married since 1968, alleging that it ended shortly before he launched his bid.
Cain has denied the claims.
It’s unclear whether the allegations against Cain would prevent Trump from moving forward with his nomination or scare Republican senators off of supporting him. Cain’s nomination has already faced criticism from some senators.
Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGOP anger with Fauci rises No deal in sight as Congress nears debt limit deadline GOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions MORE (R-Utah), who was the eventual Republican presidential nominee in 2012, expressed doubts that Trump would go through with nominating Cain before the president announced his intention to do so.
“If Herman Cain were on the Fed, you’d know the interest rate would soon be 9-9-9,” Romney told Politico earlier Thursday, referencing Cain’s campaign proposal to tax personal income, business income and sales at 9 percent each.
Trump has also faced criticism for saying he’ll nominate former campaign adviser Stephen Moore to the Fed board.
A veteran conservative economist and commentator, Moore is a fierce advocate for the president's economic agenda. Critics of Moore say his close ties to Trump, dubious economic predictions and fierce partisanship disqualify him from serving on the Fed
But Moore’s decades of work in Washington’s conservative circles have endeared him to Republicans who’ve blocked two of Trump’s previous Fed nominees: Carnegie Mellon professor Marvin Goodfriend and former Fed Director Nellie Liang.
Goodfriend was never considered by the full Senate after conservatives voiced concerns about his controversial monetary policy proposals. Liang withdrew her nomination earlier this year as Republicans spoke out against her support for strict financial regulations.
Updated at 5:42 p.m.