Stephen Moore, President Trump’s choice to fill one of the two open seats on the Federal Reserve Board, complained that his critics were “pulling a Kavanaugh against me” in a Tuesday interview after he faced scrutiny over sexist and derogatory writings from the early 2000s.
“I was so honored when I got the call from Donald Trump. But all it’s been since then has been one personal assault after another and a kind of character assassination having nothing to do with economics,” Moore told a conservative talk radio show on North Dakota-based WZFG. “They’re pulling a Kavanaugh against me.”
In comparing himself to the Supreme Court justice—who dominated the news during his confirmation process because of protests over allegations of sexual misconduct—Moore shared in some of Kavanaugh’s indignation over having his character questioned. In the interview, he added that he would take a 60 percent pay cut to take the job at the Fed. “So, you know, I mean, it’s true public service.”
On Monday, CNN reported that in columns for the National Review, Moore had mocked the idea of pay parity for female athletes, railed against the presence of women in sports as commentators and announcers (“Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women?”) unless they were very attractive, and warned women to stay away from recreational leagues because they were “precious moments of male bonding.” He also dismissed women as “sooo malleable” because his wife had voted for a Democrat. Moore told CNN that he was joking, though it’s not clear which of his articles he was referring to or which parts of his rantings were facetious.
The next day, the New York Times unearthed more columns by Moore denigrating women. In one, which he wrote for the Washington Times, he described college as a place “for men to lose their boyhood innocence” and “do stupid things.” He brushed off any concerns about women being on the other end of some of those stupid things. “It’s all a time-tested rite of passage into adulthood,” Moore wrote. “And the women seemed to survive just fine. If they were so oppressed and offended by drunken, lustful frat boys, why is it that on Friday nights they showed up in droves in tight skirts to the keg parties?”
The week before, CNBC had published excerpts from some of Moore’s writings, including one in which he joked his 3-year-old son “might as well” have been diagnosed with AIDS when his doctor told him the son had low-muscle tone.
In other writings, Moore mocked his then-wife, who was a stay-at-home mother, for being unemployed. In a 2001 column meant to parody a family Christmas card, Moore again complained that his wife’s “unemployment” was allowing her to become a “compulsive shopper.” In that same column, he told a joking anecdote about a new convertible he had purchased.
On more than one occasion Steve has been cruising around town with the top down and a gorgeous 20-something blond has pulled up beside him: he looks longingly at her, she gives him a “come hither look,” and then the mood is spoiled when she sees David drooling in the baby seat and then Justin and Will start making weird faces at her. She sticks her finger in her mouth and zooms off and Steve is left screaming at the kids: “How many times do I have to tell you tyrants to stay out of sight when I’m hitting on girls?” And then Will, with a puzzled look on his face says, “but daddy, we already have a mommy.” And then Steve says, “Yes, but imagine, just for a moment, how nice it would be if you had a much younger mommy.”
As CNBC noted, this joke is even less funny when you know that Moore’s wife accused him of adultery in their divorce proceedings a decade later. According to Moore’s wife, he had created two Match.com accounts and admitted to having an affair. A court found Moore in contempt in 2013 for failing to pay more than $300,000 in alimony and child support, according to CNBC. The Guardian reported that she said in the divorce proceedings she had to flee their Virginia home for protection from “emotional and psychological abuse.”
There were other jokes—one about using Hillary Clinton’s photo as “target practice” for his son’s potty training; one about using “gruesome pictures” of Saddam Hussein’s children after their deaths to warn “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO KIDS THAT GROW UP TO BE DEMOCRATS;” remarks about not wanting to send his daughters to schools with women’s studies and black history programs; and comments promoting the gender pay gap because of its benefits to men and “society.”
Trump announced last month that he had decided to nominate Moore to the seven-person board. (He has yet to be formally nominated). His other choice for the board, Herman Cain, withdrew his name from consideration after a number of Republicans announced they would not support him. Several women accused Cain, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO, of sexual harassment during his failed 2012 presidential bid. (Cain claimed he withdrew because it would’ve been a pay cut.)
Several Republicans told the Washington Post they would reserve comment about Moore until he is officially nominated. The White House declined to comment to reporters when asked, after Moore’s writings surfaced, if Trump still had confidence in his planned nominee.
Support our independent journalism
Readers like you make our work possible. Help us continue to provide the reporting, commentary and criticism you won’t find anywhere else. Join Slate Plus.Join Slate Plus