Herman Cain withdraws from consideration for Fed seat, Trump says

(Adds background, details)

By Trevor Hunnicutt

April 22 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that businessman and former presidential candidate Herman Cain withdrew from consideration for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board.

Four Republican U.S. senators voiced opposition to Trump's expected nomination of Cain in recent weeks, likely enough to deny Cain the support he needed to secure Senate confirmation for the post.

Economists and critics have expressed concerns about loyalists of Trump serving on the traditionally nonpartisan central bank.

Cain has been a public advocate of many of Trump's policies, as has Stephen Moore, a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, who Trump has also said he wants to nominate for one of two vacant seats on the seven-member Fed Board of Governors in Washington.

But Cain had vowed to fight on in several interviews, and had said he was under attack as a nominee because he is a conservative. Cain's bid for president in 2012 was derailed by accusations of sexual harassment that he has repeatedly denied.

"My friend Herman Cain, a truly wonderful man, has asked me not to nominate him for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. I will respect his wishes. Herman is a great American who truly loves our Country!" Trump said in a Twitter post.

Cain did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Central bank independence from short-term politics is seen as important to prevent influence that could lead to runaway debt, hyperinflation and financial instability.

Trump elevated Jerome Powell to Fed chairman a year ago but has frequently criticized him for the U.S. central bank's interest rate increases.

The central bank's other top policymakers head the Fed's 12 regional banks and are chosen by local boards of directors, not the U.S. president.

Cain, the former head of the Godfather's Pizza restaurant chain, had served as chairman of the Kansas City Fed's board in the mid-1990s in a role that also provides the regional bank with input on the local economy.

The Fed in March brought a three-year rate-hike cycle to an abrupt end as it abandoned projections for any further rate increases this year. (Additional reporting by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

First Published: 2019-04-22 18:25:37
Updated 2019-04-22 19:28:05


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