WASHINGTON — Stephen Moore, the economic adviser President Donald Trump plans to nominate to the Federal Reserve, wrote in a 2000 column that “radical feminists” had turned white men into an “oppressed minority” on college campuses, warning parents against sending their daughters to schools that devote resources to women’s studies and black history programs.
“Colleges are places for rabble-rousing,” Moore wrote for The Washington Times. “For men to lose their boyhood innocence. To do stupid things. To stay out way too late drinking. To chase skirts. (At the University of Illinois, we used to say that the best thing about Sunday nights was sleeping alone.) It’s all a time-tested rite of passage into adulthood. 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?”
Moore is a longtime economic commentator and writer who has worked for conservative think tanks and The Wall Street Journal editorial board and founded the anti-tax Club for Growth. Trump has not yet formally nominated him for one of the two open positions at the Fed; he is currently undergoing White House vetting. Over his career, Moore has endeared himself to many Republicans through columns, speeches and television appearances, in which he skewers liberals and high tax rates with glee.
That history in some ways buoys Moore’s chances of winning confirmation in the Senate: Many Republicans have long known and liked him, and several have said they will support him, even though Democrats call Moore a partisan warrior and warn he would be a loyalist to Trump on an independent Fed.
But Moore’s long paper and video trail also contains potential roadblocks to confirmation — particularly a history of writing about women in unflattering terms. While many of the columns are written with sarcasm, they contain controversial statements that could raise questions about Moore’s actual views toward women. Moore has already been criticized by Democrats for his failure to pay more than $300,000 in child support to his ex-wife, Allison Moore, which resulted in Moore being held in contempt of court in 2013.
In a column reprinted in the Ottawa Citizen in 1998, Moore complained about coed youth soccer games, which he called “a giant social experiment imposed upon us by the geniuses that have put women in combat in the military. No one seems to care much that coed sports is doing irreparable harm to the psyche of America’s little boys.” He called a kindergartner in his son’s soccer league, named Kate Lynn, “Secretariat in pig tails.”
In a series of columns for National Review in the early 2000s, Moore mocked female athletes and proposed, in what he says was a joke, that women be barred from officiating, announcing or even serving beer at NCAA men’s basketball tournament games. “Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women?” he wrote in 2002. “What’s next? Women invited to bachelor parties? Women in combat? (Oh yeah, they’ve done that already.)”
One Republican woman in the Senate, Martha McSally of Arizona, is a former Air Force combat pilot who says she was raped by a superior officer.
Moore did not respond to a request for comment about his previous writings.
His more recent writings include an early version of what has become a popular argument among some conservative media figures, such as Fox News host Tucker Carlson, that rising wages for women could have adverse consequences for men, and society.
In 2014, Moore critiqued a Democratic proposal to combat gender discrimination in a column for National Review. “The crisis in America today isn’t about women’s wages; it’s about men’s wages,” he wrote.
“What are the implications of a society in which women earn more than men?” he wrote. “We don’t really know, but it could be disruptive to family stability. If men aren’t the breadwinners, will women regard them as economically expendable? We saw what happened to family structure in low-income and black households when a welfare check took the place of a father’s paycheck. Divorce rates go up when men lose their jobs.”
In 2017, Moore drew criticism from fellow panelists during a discussion of sexual harassment on CNN, where he passed along what he said had been advice from a leading corporate executive: not to meet with a woman without a third party present.
“He said to me about two or three years ago something that I thought was very good advice for people who run companies,” Moore said, “and this is a very good advice, is that I would never have a meeting with a woman without someone else in the room. You all — and this is — unfortunately, this is where we’re at today. If you are in a position of power, a Bill O’Reilly, a Donald Trump, anyone who is running a company, you cannot be —”
His fellow panelists cut him off, saying such a policy could negatively affect women.
“If you’re in a position of power,” Moore said, “it’s probably not a good idea.”
On Monday, Trump’s other pick for the Fed, Herman Cain, withdrew his name for consideration after a critical mass of Republican senators said they would not support him. Cain had been accused by several women of sexual harassment during his 2012 presidential campaign, prompting several Republican senators to say they could not support his candidacy.
On Tuesday, a reporter asked a White House spokesman if Trump had spoken with Moore and still had confidence in his possible nomination.
“I don’t know that he’s spoken with him,” said the spokesman, Hogan Gidley, “but we don’t have any announcements.”