Herman Cain said Wednesday that he will not withdraw his name from consideration to join the board of the Federal Reserve even though senators have already signaled that they would likely reject his nomination.
Cain, the former pizza executive and 2012 GOP presidential candidate, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview Wednesday that he is “very committed” to sticking to his potential nomination, arguing that “I happen to believe that you need some new voices on the Federal Reserve.”
Last week, no less than four GOP senators signaled they would vote against Cain’s nomination to the board of the central bank, enough that he would not have the votes to be confirmed unless he was able to win over the support of some Democrats or independents. Cain's potential selection — Trump has yet to formally nominate him, although the president announced Cain as his pick earlier this month — has been hampered by the sexual harassment allegations that tanked his 2012 presidential campaign as well as his outspokenness on conservative issues.
But Cain stood firm, telling the Journal on Wednesday that “I don’t quit because of negative criticism. I don’t quit because of negative attacks. And I don’t quit because several senators have expressed reservations about my qualifications.”
The White House has continued to stand by Cain, though aides like National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow have appeared noncommittal. Last week during a live interview, Kudlow said the Trump was still standing by Cain “at the moment,” noting that they would let the vetting process play out.
On Tuesday, Kudlow told reporters that the White House was continuing to consider alternative options to Cain. But he cautioned that such backup planning was commonplace and not specific to Cain. Kudlow also said it was up to Cain whether he remained in the process.
Cain said he was willing to remain “in the fight,” telling the Journal the White House had been in touch with his aides on a near-daily basis.
“What Kudlow was doing was giving me an out, and I appreciate that, but I don’t want an out,” Cain said. “You know that the president is a fighter, and Kudlow is a fighter. They might be getting a lot of blow-back from some folks, I don’t know. But I don’t think they’re getting uncomfortable with it.”
Cain also penned an op-ed for the Journal on Wednesday, echoing his assertion that the Fed needs “new voices,” a nod to Trump’s dissatisfaction with the central bank.
Ripping what he called the Fed’s reliance on academics, he argued that the so-called professor standard was to blame for the bank hiking interest rates based on unemployment statistics and wage growth alone and not taking the markets into account, resulting in income stagnation. He argued that his approach would be to instead focus on stabilizing the dollar.
“The professor standard will not challenge itself—that much has been proved. That’s why my voice is needed at the Fed,” he wrote.
Cain asserted that though he aligned with Trump in the idea that the Fed had been mistaken to raise interest rates, he understood the bank was meant to be free of political influence but would still consider Trump’s input.
“I wouldn’t totally tune it out because they may be saying something that might cause you to ask some different questions, but not do what they are saying politically,” he told the Journal. “The Fed is not and should not become a political machine.”
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine