WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Monday that Herman Cain, a former pizza company executive and conservative presidential candidate, has withdrawn from consideration to be nominated to the Federal Reserve Board.
“My friend Herman Cain, a truly wonderful man, has asked me not to nominate him for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board,” Mr. Trump said in a post on Twitter.
Mr. Cain did not offer an immediate explanation for the withdrawal, though the move is a nod to political reality, and a victory for critics who warned Mr. Cain would act as a loyalist for Mr. Trump on the historically independent Fed board.
The president said earlier this month that he planned to nominate Mr. Cain, but the selection stoked bipartisan controversy over Mr. Cain’s qualifications for the post and the allegations of sexual harassment that derailed his 2012 bid for the Republican White House nomination.
At least four Republican senators have already said they would oppose his confirmation, if Mr. Trump were to formally nominate him — effectively killing Mr. Cain’s chances in the Senate, where Republicans have 53 seats.
“I will respect his wishes,” Mr. Trump said, calling Mr. Cain “a great American who truly loves our country.”
Mr. Cain’s decision was an abrupt departure from last week, when he vowed to stay in the running, telling The Wall Street Journal he was “very committed” to being nominated. In an op-ed column in that newspaper, Mr. Cain criticized what he called “the professor standard” for Fed nominees under presidents dating back to Bill Clinton in the 1990s, which he said had caused the central bank to lose sight of the importance of keeping the dollar strong and stable in order to support economic growth.
“The professor standard will not challenge itself — that much has been proved,” Mr. Cain wrote. “That’s why my voice is needed at the Fed.”
Mr. Cain is a former businessman and director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, an advisory position that largely involves linking the regional Fed bank to the business community. His presidential bid was notable for his “9-9-9” tax proposal, which coupled dramatically low 9-percent flat tax rates for businesses and individuals with a new 9 percent national sales tax, and for the harassment allegations that ended it.
Those allegations worried many Republicans in the Senate. Other critics questioned Mr. Cain’s qualifications for the Fed and his shifting views on interest rates, which Mr. Cain said should be higher under President Barack Obama, when the nation was struggling to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, but now says should stay low under Mr. Trump, when the economy is growing.
Many Fed analysts warned that Mr. Cain and a second potential Trump nominee, Stephen Moore, who is one of Mr. Trump’s outside economic advisers, would threaten the Fed’s history of independence from the White House. Neither Mr. Cain nor Mr. Moore had completed formal vetting procedures before Mr. Trump indicated he wanted to nominate them.
In recent years Mr. Cain has fashioned himself as a conservative commentator and staunch supporter of Mr. Trump. He posts frequent video columns on the website WesternJournal.com, including recent videos where he walked viewers through the process of being vetted for a Fed position. He also regularly links to the site’s stories on his Facebook page. Often, those stories are critiques of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, the freshman who has become a favorite target for conservatives.
On Monday, shortly after Mr. Trump announced Mr. Cain’s withdrawal, the most recent link on Mr. Cain’s page was a video of an eight-year-old girl doing an impression of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. “Oh my goodness,” Mr. Cain wrote, “this is the best thing you’ll see all day.”
Mr. Moore said in a text message on Monday that Mr. Trump would follow through on his nomination “when I get all the paperwork and financial disclosure done.”
White House officials have insisted in recent weeks that Mr. Moore’s nomination was on track, despite controversies over a $75,000 tax lien filed against him by the Internal Revenue Service and a judge finding him in contempt of court several years ago for failing to pay more than $300,000 in past-due child support and alimony.
On Monday, CNN reported that Mr. Moore, in columns for National Review in the early 2000s, belittled female athletes and called for women to be disallowed from officiating, announcing or even selling beer at NCAA men’s basketball games. Mr. Moore said those columns were jokes.
It is unclear if Mr. Moore has the support he would need in the Senate to be confirmed. Some Republicans said privately earlier this month that Mr. Cain’s struggles could help Mr. Moore, because Republican senators would be unlikely to vote against both of Mr. Trump’s nominees. They were more divided on Monday, saying Mr. Cain’s departure could open Mr. Moore to additional scrutiny and attacks.