Stephen Moore, President Donald Trump’s pick to serve on the Federal Reserve Board, once dismissed the Violence Against Women Act as the “most objectionable pork” in the 1994 crime bill, saying the money would better spent if Americans were forced to write checks to “radical feminist” groups.
It’s part of a 25-year track record of dismissing women and criticizing gender equality in print and in interviews with conservative outlets. Moore’s commentary covers everything from single mothers to the limited earning power of black men relative to black women – a problem, he’s argued, because it made black families weaker.
On Tuesday, Moore said the “biggest problem” in the US economy is a relative decline in male earnings for both black and white men.
“You know, people are talking about women’s earnings – they’ve risen. The problem, actually, has been the steady decline in male earnings, and I think we should pay attention to that because I think that has very negative consequences for the economy and for society,” Moore said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
Trump’s former campaign adviser, who is still undergoing White House vetting and has not yet been formally nominated, has come under fire since CNN first reported last week on his other writings dismissing women’s involvement in the military as well as professional sports.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Monday said the White House was reviewing columns Moore wrote for the National Review in the early 2000s. As first reported by CNN’s KFile last week, Moore railed against women’s involvement in sports and asked if there was any area in life “where men can take vacation from women.”
Moore called the columns a “spoof” in comments to CNN, though he subsequently told ABC News that “some of them weren’t funny and so I am apologetic; I’m embarrassed by some of those things.” Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters Monday the White House is “still behind” Moore.
Additional writings uncovered by KFile after that initial story indicated Moore’s comments on women ranged far wider than initially believed, showing a breadth of opinion on legislative and policy matters, as well as social issues.
In interviews, writings and speeches reviewed by CNN’s KFile between 1994 and 2019, Moore repeatedly advocated broadly against women’s initiatives in legislation.
Moore did not initially respond to a CNN request for comment.
After this story published, he told CNN in a brief phone interview that he has no plans to withdraw from consideration.
Moore said he had not seen all the comments from several Republican senators Tuesday expressing concerns or outright opposition to his nomination but that he was not surprised. He said he knows he needs to sit down with those senators to talk with them about their issues with his nomination.
“I have all these attacks against me and I’m not surprised these Republicans are (questioning my nomination) – because that’s what they hear,” he said.
“I do need to sit down with every one of them and tell them here’s the truth: I’m not anti-woman,” Moore said. “When they hear that I think they’ll – hopefully they’ll be supportive.”
He said his nomination has not yet been submitted because he is still processing some of his background paperwork.
“We’re just about done with all the financial disclosure stuff and the stuff for the FBI background check,” he said, saying he anticipates getting that paperwork completed by the end of the week.
Writing in a column for the Washington Times in 1994, Moore denounced the Violence Against Women Act, part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which provided funding and resources for the investigation of violent crimes against women. Moore stated it would be more efficient if it “simply required every American household to write a $20 check to the radical feminist group of its choice.”
“Probably the most objectionable pork in the entire legislation is the $1.8 billion earmarked for Sen. Joe Biden’s ‘Violence Against Women Act.’ That act sets up gender sensitivity programs for judges and police; classifies assaults against women as ‘hate crimes’ or civil rights offenses, and passes out millions of dollars to women’s groups for ‘rape education’ and a smorgasbord of other programs,” Moore wrote. “The act would be more efficient if Congress cut out the federal middleman and simply required every American household to write a $20 check to the radical feminist group of its choice.”
In a 1997 column for the National Review, Moore celebrated the elimination of the Women’s Educational Equity Act, which he called “vile.” The program, which introduced protections for women in education against gender discrimination and promoted gender equality in education, appears to have been restored a year after funding lapsed in an amendment. It passed the House again in 1999.
“House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston (R., La.) points to 297 programs that have been exterminated in the past thirty months. These oinkers include the Solar Technology Transfer programs ($4.3 million), the Cattle Tick Eradication Program ($12 million), the House barbershop and one House parking lot ($2 million), and the vile Women’s Education Equity program ($3.9 million),” Moore wrote. “Good riddance to bad rubbish. But the savings add up to less than $3 billion – out of a $1.7-trillion budget. The big ones keep getting away. “
Moore again praised the elimination of the Women’s Education Equity Act in another 1997 column still available on the Cato Institute website, listing it among other “absurdities” that were cut by the federal government.
“But have congressional Republicans actually gotten rid of anything? I posed that question to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston last month and received an impressive four-page fax enumerating more than 200 program terminations since January 1995. The list of shutdowns includes such absurdities as the Women’s Educational Equity Act, the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corp., the U.S. Travel and Tourism Administration and the Energy Department’s gas turbine modular helium reactor.”
In a 1995 column for the Weekly Standard, “50 Ways To Pull A Clinton,” Moore attacked President Bill Clinton and the act further.
“Reason 50: ‘eliminates the Women’s Educational Equity Act.’ It is highly revealing that out of a federal budget that spends $1.6 trillion a year, the White House feels compelled to highlight an obscure $3 million grant program that funds leftist Women’s groups,” Moore wrote.
In an appearance on C-SPAN in 2000, first reported by The New York Times, Moore argued that self-sufficient women were leading to a decline in the American family and said men needed to be the breadwinners of the family.
“It’s not a good thing that black women are making more than black men today. In fact, the male needs to be the breadwinner of the family, and one of the reasons I think you’ve seen the decline of the family, not just in the black community, but also it’s happening now in the white community as well, is because women are more economically self-sufficient,” he said. “So, I would like to see an increase in black earnings because black men have not closed the gap as much as black women have.”
Speaking at an event in January, Moore called Republican women smarter and better looking than their Democratic counterparts.
“Can I say something politically incorrect?” Moore said. “Republican women are so much more beautiful than Democratic women. Republican women are so much more smarter than Democratic women.”
Moore has also been critical of Trump, including a declaration in a 2015 interview on Kudlow’s radio show newly unearthed by CNN’s KFile that Trump would be one of the “two most arrogant people in America,” alongside President Barack Obama, and calling Trump “a complete blank slate” that “doesn’t have an underlying philosophy.”
Moore, a longtime conservative commentator who was a longtime Wall Street Journal editorial board member, subsequently went to work for Trump’s 2016 campaign. He was a CNN contributor from 2017 until last month.
Kudlow, a onetime Reagan official and CNBC personality, joined the White House in 2018 as director of the National Economic Council. He has been a key public defender of Moore, an unconventional pick for the Fed board, which is responsible for setting interest rate policy and generally cultivates an aura of political independence.
In recent months, Moore has been a vocal defender of Trump amid the President’s public campaign against the Fed’s recent rate hikes, overseen by Chair Jerome Powell – a Trump appointee. Moore’s political background as the founder of the conservative Club for Growth has drawn opposition from Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a member of the key Senate Banking Committee, who is running for president.
But Republican senators have also indicated their hesitation about Moore. Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst told CNN on Tuesday that it is “very unlikely” she would support Moore.
Trump’s other recent Fed pick, Herman Cain, withdrew last week after four Republicans blocked his path to confirmation, saying they would not vote for him if he were nominated. Cain faced renewed scrutiny over sexual harassment allegations, which he has denied and which ended his 2012 Republican presidential bid.
This story has been updated with comments Moore made in a CNN interview after KFile’s story published.
CNN’s Ted Barrett and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.