Trump's Likely Nominee for the Federal Reserve Board Once Called Cincinnati and Cleveland 'Armpits'

Trump's Likely Nominee for the Federal Reserve Board Once Called Cincinnati and Cleveland 'Armpits'
Photo by Gage Skidmore

President Donald Trump is expected to tap Stephen Moore as a nominee to the Federal Reserve Board, which sets financial policy for the federal government. It's a good thing for Moore that Ohioans (well, other than our two senators) don't get to vote on that, because recordings have emerged of Moore dumping all over two of the Buckeye State's biggest cities.

A former CNN contributor, Moore is currently a columnist with the Heritage Foundation, the far-right think tank that has increasingly funneled staff and preferred appointees into Trump's administration. The foundation has taken a number of controversial stands, from stances skeptical of climate change to campaigns hounding insufficiently-conservative Republicans.

But those are stances about the wider world. Moore, during a 2014 book talk in Chicago hosted by the Heartland Institute, expressed some more focused opinions about our own Queen City, as well as Cleveland.

"If you live in the midwest, where else do you want to live but Chicago," he said about 46 minutes into the talk. "You don't want to live in Cincinnati or Cleveland or these armpits of America like that. You want to live in Chicago."

While there are probably worse parts of the body to be, Moore's comments are not a great feeling for folks who love those cities.

It's worth noting he pronounces Cincinnati as "Cincinnat-uh." Also worth noting: In the same talk, he calls teachers' unions "the evil empire," an assertion sure to anger educators and Democrats.

The statement has, somewhat predictably, riled up U.S. Sen Sherrod Brown, a Democrat and Trump critic. Brown fired off a letter to Moore yesterday demanding an apology. You can probably safely say Brown won't be voting for Moore's appointment — he called Moore's 2014 remarks "disqualifying."

“Unfortunately, it’s not just your words that make your disdain for the American people clear," Brown wrote. "You have a long history of supporting policies that have directly contributed to the challenges faced by the millions of Americans in these towns and cities. Your positions on the economy, tax cuts for the wealthy, health care, financial regulation, and farm policy show that you don’t understand the ongoing challenges these communities face and the policies that would actually help them.”

Trump hasn't formally nominated Moore, but his other pick, former Republican presidential primary contender Herman Cain, dropped out of consideration recently.

The shade thrown at Cincinnati and Cleveland isn't Moore's only comment getting attention since his name started being floated for the Federal Reserve Board appointment. Most prominent among them are his views about women as expressed in columns he wrote for the National Review in the early aughts.

In one, expressing anger over women being allowed to referee men's college basketball games, Moore calls the development "an obscenity" and wonders, "is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women?"

"Here's the rule change I propose," Moore wrote in the 2002 column. "No more women refs, no women announcers, no women beer venders (sic), no women anything," he wrote in March 2002. "There is, of course, an exception to this rule. Women are permitted to participate, if and only if, they look like (then-CBS sports reporter) Bonnie Bernstein. The fact that Bonnie knows nothing about basketball is entirely irrelevant."

Moore has since said those comments were "a spoof."

Should Trump formally nominate Moore, the Senate will need to approve him. How is Ohio's other senator, Republican Rob Portman, responding?

Portman's office told that he will review Moore's qualifications should he become Trump's nominee. But Portman spokesperson Kevin Smith also said Moore's 2014 statement isn't great.

"If Stephen Moore meant that as a joke, it was a bad one," Smith said.

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