Trump picks Herman Cain for Fed as new Powell counterweight, sources say

Ann Santiago
April 7, 2019

Trump himself used to understand the bubbly dangers of constant low-interest rate policy from the Fed, as did Cain, who used to love the gold standard for its very power to keep short-term political priorities out of our money.

The announcement comes weeks after Trump floated another nominee to fill an open seat on the Fed board: Stephen Moore, a former campaign adviser and distinguished fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. Moore's nomination has encountered criticism that he is unqualified and too politically focused for a Fed board seat.

Bloomberg confirmed, citing three unnamed people "familiar with the matter", that Trump intends to nominate Cain to the the board.

Cain, who sought the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, is the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza and was on the board Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City as a director from 1992 to 1996, eventually becoming chairman. In a 2012 Wall Street Journal column, Cain argued that the Fed's policies had manipulated the value of the dollar.

Neither Moore nor Cain has officially been nominated for the Federal Reserve Board.

Cain ran against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and others in the 2012 GOP presidential primary but ultimately lost to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, now a US senator representing Utah. He's doing some pre-checking now and I would imagine he would be in great shape. In addition to selecting Powell for the top job, Trump has nominated all the current Fed board members with the exception of Lael Brainard, who was nominated by Barack Obama. But his candidacy imploded after he was accused of sexual harassment during his time at the helm of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, and an Atlanta woman alleged they had an affair for 13 years.

Cain called the allegations false but said he had "made mistakes in my life".

"I find Herman to be an outstanding person", he added.

Trump, however, has grown increasingly unhappy with Fed decisions under Powell's direction, especially after the stock market took a nosedive past year as the central bank was hiking rates four times. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Expectations are mounting among investors that the Fed could even cut its benchmark lending rates.

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