Stephen Moore, President Trump’s planned nominee for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, on Tuesday said his opponents are “pulling a Kavanaugh against me” amid new revelations about columns in the 2000s in which he made derogatory statements about women, called for former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue (R) to be impeached and made a joking reference to AIDS.
Moore is also coming under scrutiny for saying in 2016 that it would be a “betrayal” for Trump to pick former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) to be secretary of state. Romney now represents Utah in the Senate, which would have to approve Moore’s nomination if he is to be confirmed to the position.
And a 2014 comment by Moore that Cincinnati and Cleveland are “armpits of America” drew a rebuke from Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who wrote a letter to Moore on Tuesday calling the remarks “disqualifying” and demanding that he provide a list of other towns that he would describe as “armpits.”
Ohio is a swing state that was central to Trump’s win in 2016 and will be a key part of his 2020 reelection efforts.
“I was so honored when I got the call from Donald Trump. But all it’s been since then has been one personal assault after another and a kind of character assassination having nothing to do with economics. . . . They’re pulling a Kavanaugh against me,” Moore told a conservative talk radio show Tuesday morning on North Dakota-based WZFG.
“I’m taking a 60 percent pay cut to do this job,” he added. “So, you know, I mean, it’s true public service.”
Moore’s statement was a reference to Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who faced allegations last summer of sexual misconduct during his college and high school years — accusations he denied. Conservatives rallied to Kavanaugh’s defense, and he was narrowly confirmed by the Senate.
Trump announced last month that he was choosing Moore, his close ally, to fill an open seat on the Fed’s seven-person board. But in recent weeks, the Heritage Foundation visiting fellow and former president of the Club for Growth has faced questions about columns he wrote in the 2000s for the conservative magazine National Review.
On Monday, CNN resurfaced several columns in which Moore decried the “feminization of basketball,” denounced coed sports and argued that women should not be allowed to be men’s sports referees — unless they are good-looking.
Moore also wrote that female athletes were seeking “equal pay for inferior work” and lamented, “Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women?”
Moore told The Washington Post in an email Monday that he does not stand by any of the comments and that the article was a “spoof,” although he did not cite a particular column or explain a later piece in which he defended his remarks.
In a recent article, CNBC also unearthed some of Moore’s past writings, including one in 2004 in which Moore wrote about being told by a doctor that his young son had “low-muscle tone.”
“He might as well have told us that [the child] has AIDS,” Moore wrote.
Moore also repeatedly made mocking references to his wife at the time, a stay-at-home mother, as a “loss leader” who “doesn’t have a job.” And in a 2001 column — one of several that are apparent parodies of a family Christmas letter — Moore described a scene in which he is “cruising around town with the top down and a gorgeous 20-something blond has pulled up beside him.”
The “mood is spoiled” when the woman spots Moore’s children “making weird faces at her,” he wrote.
“She sticks her finger in her mouth and zooms off and Steve is left screaming at the kids: ‘How many times do I have to tell you tyrants to stay out of sight when I’m hitting on girls?’” Moore wrote, referring to himself in the third person. “And then Will, with a puzzled look on his face says, ‘But Daddy, we already have a mommy.’ And then Steve says, ‘Yes, but imagine, just for a moment, how nice it would be if you had a much younger mommy.’ ”
Stephen and Allison Moore, who have three children together, were married for two decades before divorcing in 2011. Allison Moore began divorce proceedings in 2010, and her divorce complaint said her then-husband opened a Match.com account and had a mistress.
Stephen Moore was found in contempt of court in 2013 for failing to pay his ex-wife more than $330,000 in alimony and child support, court documents show.
On Tuesday, the New York Times pointed to several more of Moore’s columns. In one, written in 2000 for the Washington Times, Moore described colleges as “places for rabble-rousing” and “for men to lose their boyhood innocence” and “do stupid things.”
“It’s all a time-tested rite of passage into adulthood,” Moore wrote. “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?”
Moore did not respond to an email Tuesday requesting comment on his remarks about women in the newly resurfaced columns.
Two of Moore’s other past statements could cause him political headaches if he is formally nominated and faces a Senate confirmation battle.
In a 2003 National Review column titled “Impeach Governor Sonny Perdue,” Moore blasted Georgia’s then-governor — and Trump’s current agriculture secretary — over tax policy.
“Voters thought they were electing a Ronald Reagan, not a Michael Dukakis,” Moore wrote in the piece, describing Perdue and other Georgia Republicans as “fiscal frauds.”
Perdue’s cousin, Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), is a member of the Senate Banking Committee, which would hold a hearing on Moore’s nomination as part of the confirmation process.
In an email, Moore told The Post that he and Sonny Perdue had reconciled “many years ago.”
“I had a great meeting with him several months after our policy disagreement and have had a friendship with him ever since,” Moore said. A spokeswoman for Perdue did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Moore also said in a 2016 radio interview that a potential nomination of Romney by Trump to be secretary of state “makes me so angry,” according to a CNN report at the time.
“If Mitt Romney is nominated for secretary of state, I feel this will be a betrayal of those who worked for Donald Trump, like myself, for the last four or five months,” Moore said.
A spokeswoman for Romney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The press offices of several other Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee said Tuesday that the senators were reserving comment until Moore is officially nominated to the Fed post.
Asked whether Trump remains confident in Moore, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley declined to answer. He told reporters Tuesday morning that he was uncertain whether the two had been in touch since the new reports came out.
“I don’t know that he’s spoken with him, but we don’t have any announcements,” Gidley said.
Heather Long contributed to this report.