Trump said on Twitter Thursday afternoon that Moore decided to withdraw, a decision that came amid growing objections to his potential nomination among Senate Republicans.
“I’ve asked Steve to work with me toward future economic growth in our Country,” Trump said in a tweet.
Hours earlier, Moore said in an interview with Bloomberg News that he spoke to someone at the White House on Wednesday and had no indication he would not be nominated.
“My biggest ally is the president,” he said. “He’s full speed ahead.”
He said he believed he’d win votes from some Senate Democrats if he could advance to a confirmation hearing before the chamber’s Banking Committee. Moore said he expected Trump to formally nominate him for the Fed within about three weeks.
But he said that he’d withdraw if Trump decides that’s best.
“I’m going to do what the president wants me to do,” he said. “If he wants me to keep fighting, I’m going to keep fighting. If he thinks it’s time to throw in the towel, I’ll do that.”
Moore expressed surprise at push-back to his candidacy from Senate Republicans, including Iowa’s Joni Ernst and South Dakota’s John Thune, the second-ranking GOP leader. They have raised concerns about Moore’s past writings in which he disparaged women, and some senators have questioned whether he’s sufficiently independent from the White House.
Moore was an economic adviser to Trump’s campaign and has been a vocal supporter of his policies since he took office.
“Some of the stuff about women that’s come out, this was all humorous, meant to be humorous pieces,” Moore said. “Certainly that’s caused some problems with a number of the senators. So my strategy is I want to sit down with them in the weeks ahead.”
He said of Ernst’s concerns specifically: “Just because she’s ‘no’ today doesn’t mean she’s ‘no’ three months from now. The world is going to be very different two months from now.”
Moore said he doesn’t always side with the president. For example, he said he disagreed with Trump’s suggestion on Tuesday that the Fed cut interest rates by as much as a full percentage point and resume bond purchases.
Moore said he was unsure whether it was appropriate for Trump to comment on Fed decisions, and allowed that it risked undermining the central bank’s independence. He depicted himself as a potential maverick on the board with strong opinions; he called the Fed’s December interest rate increase “economic malpractice,” before retreating and saying his words were “overly charged.”
“I do believe in the importance of the Fed being independent,” he said. But he questioned whether the central bank should be accountable to the public or to the president, whom he described as the “CEO of our economy,” instead of only to Congress.
“When the Fed makes a mistake, I’m not so sure it’s inappropriate for the president to speak out and say, ‘hey, I think we’ve got a booming economy, we’ve got 4 percent growth.”’
“What happens when the Fed screws up?” he said. “Real people were really hurt by what happened in December. This isn’t a game — two or three trillion dollars of wealth was just eviscerated because of the mistake that the Fed made.”
The Fed’s chairman, Jerome Powell, whom Moore wrote should have been fired after the December decision, “is learning on the job,” Moore said Thursday.
“I mean you’ve got to admit, if I were on the Fed it would be a lot more fun to cover the Fed,” he said.
“I think if we can steer the discussion away from things that I wrote 20, 25 years ago and more towards what I believe in terms of the economy and Fed policy and how to create growth and stable prices, I think I am going to win a big majority,” he said later in a Bloomberg Television interview.