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Trump Federal Reserve Nominee Stephen Moore Explains Controversial Comments

May 2, 2019, 12:00 PM UTC

Stephen Moore, President Donald Trump’s pick for the Federal Reserve board addressed past controversial comments, joking that there “should be a statute of limitations on saying stupid things,” and called for cameras in the Fed to increase public trust in the institution.

“Why should it be top secret why the Fed did this and that?” Moore told Margaret Hoover Tuesday on her PBS show Firing Line, which airs on Friday. “I want cameras. I want C-Span to cover their open market meetings. I want auditing of the Fed. I want them to be more open.”

Moore cautioned that cameras could cause “a three ring circus,” but ultimately said he believes the higher transparency would build greater public respect.

“Opinion polls show Americans don’t have a high opinion of the Fed because they don’t understand how it works,” said Moore. “I don’t think that’s good for markets.”

Hoover questioned Moore on his 2016 comment about Trump kicking a black family out of public housing. The joke referenced a cartoon with former President Barack Obama leaving the White House.

“I shouldn’t have said it,” said Moore, agreeing with Hoover that the optics of a conservative white man making such a joke are not good. “I have a long paper trail… I say things that are kind of jokes that people want to pick them apart, then I probably won’t, you know, get on the Federal Reserve Board.”

Hoover also questioned Moore about his 2000 claim that “the male needs to be the breadwinner of the family,” a statement she says he repeated in 2014. Moore argued that he was commenting on how women’s wages are increasing, but male wages have been falling.

“I’m for higher wages for everybody, the problem is black male and white male wages have been falling, and I do think that’s a problem for our society,” Moore told Hoover. Although he said he’s for higher women’s wages, Moore also said if men “become less important in terms of the breadwinner in the family,” there could be more “family instability.”

Moore also defended Trump’s tax cuts, saying he’d “be willing to have the deficit a little higher to get America working.” Moore was unclear on whether or not the cuts would spark enough growth to pay for themselves, however.

“I’m not one who believed that the tax cut was going to pay for itself,” said Moore. Conversely, he later added: “I basically said was that they will start to, over time, that if we get higher growth rate, they would largely pay for themselves.”

While his nomination for the board is not yet official, Moore’s confirmation is already on shaky ground. He’s historically been very critical of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s decisions, a fact that may have lured Trump to seek his nomination in the first place.