Conservative economist Stephen Moore — one of President Trump’s presumptive picks to serve on the Federal Reserve Board — has come under fire for past writings and public comments that disparage women and are dismissive of gender equity. The former columnist for the National Review and the Wall Street Journal has advocated eliminating child labor laws, mocked women in athletics, joked about AIDS and suggested that closing the gender wage gap would destroy family stability in America.
Assembled here are some of Moore’s most controversial comments, some of which he has apologized for, claiming they were meant to be taken in jest. Sincere or otherwise, they have riled lawmakers and may have imperiled his path to the Fed: On Tuesday, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) became the first GOP senator to go on the record saying she wouldn’t support Moore, and she hinted that other Republican senators shared her views.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed Monday that Moore’s past writings are being reviewed by the White House, although it has maintained public support for the nominee.
“Equal pay for inferior work”
In a 2000 column for the National Review, Moore lambasted female athletes who were pressing for equal pay in a Nike ad campaign.
“The women tennis pros don’t really want equal pay for equal work. They want equal pay for inferior work,” Moore wrote. He went on to claim that the real “injustice” was that female pros were paid, while men playing college tennis who could “beat them handily” were not.
During a debate about minimum wage in 2016, Moore claimed that low labor force participation could be corrected by allowing children to work.
“I’m a radical on this; I’d get rid of a lot of these child labor laws. I want people starting to work at 11, 12,” he said during the debate.
Earlier this week, Moore said the most pressing issue in the U.S. economy is the stagnation of “male earnings.”
“The biggest problem I see in the economy over the last 25 years is what has happened to male earnings — for black males and white males, as well. They’ve been declining, and that is, I think, a big problem,” he said in a CNBC interview.
“I want everybody’s wages to rise, of course, but you know, people are talking about women’s earnings — they’ve risen,” Moore continued. “The problem, actually, has been the steady decline in male earnings, and I think we should pay attention to that, because I think that has very negative consequences for the economy and for society.”
In a 2000 column for the Washington Times, Moore raged against the “radical feminism” he believed was growing at universities around the country. He claimed that “the anti-male bias” was victimizing young men.
“Colleges are places for rabble-rousing. For men to lose their boyhood innocence. To do stupid things. To stay out way too late drinking. To chase skirts. (At the University of Illinois, we used to say that the best thing about Sunday nights was sleeping alone.)," Moore wrote. “It’s all a time-tested rite of passage into adulthood. And the women seemed to survive just fine. If they were so oppressed and offended by drunken, lustful frat boys, why is it that on Friday nights they showed up in droves in tight skirts to the keg parties?”
He also cautioned parents against sending their daughters to colleges that might expose them to this radical feminism, saying that “one tipoff is how many resources the college devotes to programs like ‘women’s studies’ and black history.”
Women in sports
In a 2002 column for the National Review, Moore said that the “feminization of basketball” was one of the more serious social issues in America, claiming that March Madness was being “ruined by reformers” who allowed a woman to referee one of the games.
“The NCAA has been touting this as example of how progressive they are. I see it as an obscenity,” Moore wrote. “Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women? What’s next? Women invited to bachelor parties? Women in combat? (Oh yeah, they’ve done that already.)"
Moore’s solution? “No more women refs, no more women announcers, no more women beer venders, no women anything.” He did offer one caveat: “Women are permitted to participate, if and only if, they look like (sportscaster) Bonnie Bernstein. The fact that Bonnie knows nothing about basketball is entirely irrelevant.”
Later in the column, Moore said Bernstein should wear a halter top.
“This is a no-brainer, CBS.”
Bernstein, after learning of the comments, fired back on Twitter last week: “You want halter tops? Hit the club scene. You want hoops knowledge? Try actually listening.”