President TrumpDonald TrumpJudge rules Alaska governor unlawfully fired lawyer who criticized Trump Giuliani led fake electors plot: CNN Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE plans to nominate former pizza CEO and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve Board, according to multiple reports.
Axios, Bloomberg and The Washington Post reported Thursday that Trump was set to nominate Cain to one of two open spots on the Fed's Board of Governors. The president's interest in Cain was first reported by Bloomberg in January.
Trump plans to formally announce Cain's nomination after the completion of a background check, Axios reported.
Cain ran unsuccessfully for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination after decades as a private-sector executive and business advocate in Washington. He also served in various top advisory positions for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City between 1989 and 1996, chairing the branch from 1995 to 1996.
Cain's nomination to the Fed board would be subject to Senate approval, and could be imperiled by accusations of sexual harassment that derailed his 2012 presidential bid.
Cain suspended his campaign in December 2011 after four former employees accused him of sexual harassment. A Georgia woman also claimed she had a 13-year affair with Cain, who’s been married since 1968, and that it ended shortly before he launched his bid. He denied the claims.
If officially nominated, Cain would be Trump's second controversial Fed pick in two weeks. Trump drew intense scrutiny when he announced on March 22 his intention to nominate former campaign adviser Stephen Moore for another vacant sport on the Fed board.
Moore, a veteran conservative economist and commentator, is a fierce advocate for the president's economic agenda.
But critics say Moore, an opinion contributor for The Hill, is too partisan and close to Trump to serve at the central bank.
The Fed and its chairman, Jerome Powell, have been a consistent source of rage for Trump, who blames the central bank for restraining growth through interest rate increases. The Fed has raised rates eight times since Trump took office and four times under Powell, whom the president appointed in late 2017.
Trump has nominated four of the five current Fed board members to their current positions, including Powell, and appointed new members: Vice Chairman Richard Clarida, Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles and Governor Michelle Bowman.
While Trump's previously nominated a cadre of establishment-friendly Republicans well respected by Fed watchers, critics say his recent picks reflect a desire to stock the Fed with loyalists who will keep rates low.
Republicans appear inclined to support Moore, but have blocked two of Trump's previous Fed nominees. GOP senators derailed Trump’s nomination of Nellie Liang, a former Fed director and economist, over concerns she’d be too supportive of lower interest rates and tighter bank regulation.
Senate conservatives also prevented the confirmation of Carnegie Mellon professor Marvin Goodfriend over his past controversial monetary policy proposals.
Updated at 3:02 p.m.