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A Refresher on Herman Cain, Trump’s Latest Pick for the Fed Board

Herman Cain, pizza executive and architect of the “9-9-9” tax plan, is back.

On Thursday, President Trump told reporters that he planned to nominate Cain for one of two vacant seats on the seven-member Federal Reserve Board.

“I have recommended Herman Cain. He is a very terrific man, a terrific person,” Trump said. “He is a friend of mine. I have recommended him highly for the Fed. I have told my folks that that’s the man. And he’s doing some pre-checking now and I would imagine he’d be in great shape.”

But there could be some obstacles for Cain in winning Senate confirmation—his 2012 presidential campaign came to a halt when multiple women came forward accusing Cain of sexual harassment, and another claimed that the two had an affair. Cain denied all allegations.

In the years since, Cain has remained involved in Republican politics. As recently as the start of this year Cain formed a super PAC called America Fighting Back, which aims to “protect Donald Trump and his agenda from impeachment.” The PAC has reportedly spent nearly $20,000 on pro-Trump TV ads this year.

Here’s what else you might have forgotten about Cain.

Cain was once involved in the restaurant business: he was CEO of Godfather’s Pizza from 1986 to 1996 and then headed the National Restaurant Association. During this period, Cain was named to the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in 1992 and went on to serve as the board’s chairman from 1995-1996.

During his 2012 presidential campaign, Cain became associated with his “9-9-9” tax plan, which would have replaced the existing tax system with a flat 9% business, income, and national sales tax.

In a 2012 op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal, Cain wrote “why stop [at the “9-9-9” tax plan]?” He proceeded to advocate for a return to the gold standard, accusing the Fed of manipulating the value of the dollar. There are no countries in the world that still use the gold standard.

Cain is also known as an “inflation hawk,” preferring high interest rates to keep inflation in check. He defended these views as recently as December 2017, but appears to have distanced himself from them in recent months to put himself in better alignment with Trump’s position, noting in a Fox Business Network interview in February that “I would try to encourage the Fed not to make inflation a fear factor because deflation…is more of a fear factor than inflation.”

Cain made the news for other comments he made while on the campaign trail, such as saying that knowing who the president of “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” is irrelevant to the presidency and claiming that “based upon the little knowledge that I have of the Muslim religion, you know, they have an objective to convert all infidels or kill them” and therefore wouldn’t feel comfortable appointing any Muslims to his administration. Later, he sent dozens of emails to his nearly 360,000-person mailing list with promises of “weird tricks,” such as a remedy for erectile dysfunction.

But it wasn’t Cain’s views on tax or monetary policy or even his lack of foreign policy knowledge that thwarted his candidacy, but rather the allegations of harassment that came to light. A total of four women came forward accusing Cain of sexual misconduct while he was working at the National Restaurant Association, with a fifth, Ginger White, alleging that she had had a 13-year affair with the candidate.

At the end of 2011, Cain suspended his candidacy due to the “continued distraction,” but denied all allegations, calling them “false” and “unproved” in his suspension announcement.

Trump has yet to officially nominate Cain, but his is the second contentious name Trump has floated in recent weeks for a seat on the Fed board: he announced at the end of March that he planned to nominate Stephen Moore, as well.