Graham says Stephen Moore's nomination would be 'problematic'

“It will be a very problematic nomination,” Graham, a top Senate ally of President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE's, told reporters.


Asked if he would not support Moore, Graham said that he was still reviewing him.

Separately, GOP Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstSenate defense bill would make military sexual harassment standalone crime Congress, White House near deal on spending, debt limit Trump mulling visit to ethanol refinery later this month: report MORE (Iowa) said it was "very unlikely" that she would support his nomination. 

The remarks from Graham and Ernst underline the trouble Moore’s possible nomination would face if Trump formally sends it to the Senate.

A number of senators have expressed disgust or opposition to Moore's past writings about women. In one column written for National Review in 2002, Moore wrote that women should have no role in men's college sports unless they dress in halter tops.

Several female senators have voiced concerns, and Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneFrustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Hillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment Senate passes anti-robocall bill MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, warned that reservations about Moore likely spread beyond just female senators. 

Trump has not actually nominated Moore to the Federal Reserve board. The White House is sticking behind him publicly, even as he’s faced growing questions among Republicans.

"We're still behind him," National Economic Council Director Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE told reporters at the White House, adding that Moore is still going through "the process of vetting" and there has been "no change" in Trump's position.

Republicans have 53 seats in the Senate, meaning they could lose three Republicans and still confirm Moore if Vice President Pence broke a tie.

Sylvan Lane contributed.