“I’m kind of new to this game, frankly, so I’m going to be on a steep learning curve myself about how the Fed operates, how the Federal Reserve makes its decisions,” Moore said Friday in an interview. “It’s hard for me to say even what my role will be there, assuming I get confirmed.”
Trump’s choice of Moore, a distinguished visiting fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, has raised eyebrows given his often colorful views of the Fed and his close relationship with the President, who has broken with precedent and directly criticized the Fed’s recent interest rate hikes.
“Everyone would now acknowledge that what they did in December with the rate increase — it was a very substantial mistake,” said Moore.
Separately, Democrats questioned Goodfriend’s ability to accurately predict the economy’s path during his confirmation hearing. He is still under consideration by the White House for a seat on the board, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in January.
Moore’s nomination, which requires Senate confirmation, drew immediate backlash from former policymakers.
Members of the seven-member panel at the Fed are typically economists, financial industry executives and bank regulators. Moore is a former Wall Street Journal editorial board member and anti-tax activist.
He was also an analyst for CNN, though a spokesman said Friday that relationship had been terminated.
In his interview, Moore tried to downplay his differing views with the current Fed chairman, stressing he wanted to be helpful in boosting the country’s economic growth.
“I don’t want to be a disruptor,” said Moore. “I want to be somebody who can really help Chairman Powell and the others on that Board to construct to the best pro-growth, stable price system that we can for this country.”
Moore added that he and Trump “think a lot alike” when it comes to economic policy. “I really believe we can have 3 to 4 percent growth for the next five to six years,” he said.
Trump’s decision to appoint Moore to the job reportedly followed a recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal, in which he blamed the central bank for slowing the economy while touting Trump’s policies.
“Given the way Moore was reportedly chosen — by Trump seeing a Moore op-ed that he agreed with — Trump advisers might be well-advised to hold the vacancy like a card up their sleeve,” wrote Ian Katz, a financial policy analysts for Capital Alpha Partners wrote in a note to clients. “If the boss were to see an article or TV appearance and say ‘let’s hire that guy for the Fed,’ you wouldn’t want to be the person who has to tell Trump sorry, we already filled all the Fed jobs.”
Political analysts, however, suggested Moore’s confirmation would “very likely be close to a party-line tally” with a few senators’ vote up for grabs, like Republican Sen. Paul Rand of Kentucky.
Democrats are likely to put heat on Moore, a close ally of White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, for having previously supported higher rates in 2015 under President Barack Obama.
Moore in 2015 described the Fed’s “zero-interest-rate policy … just as an addict craves crack cocaine” — a position he has since reversed as Trump has turned on the Fed’s efforts to dampen any potential inflationary pressure and keep the economy in check as it absorbs the Republican tax cut and other expansionary measures.
“We think it is probable Moore will be confirmed but his performance in a confirmation hearing would be very important, especially with his historically divergent views on interest rates,” wrote Brian Gardner, director of Washington Research at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, in a note to clients. “Republicans have enough Senate seats to confirm him without Democratic help. It would just be a question of whether or not he would lose support from any Republicans, which would put his nomination in danger.”