Hassett Says Moore to Curb Rhetoric ‘If’ He’s Picked for Fed

(Bloomberg) -- The White House’s chief economist said Stephen Moore would likely tone down his rhetoric “if” he’s nominated to the Federal Reserve board after the conservative pundit called on the central bank to cut interest rates.

“I think that as the process moves forward, if Steve ends up being the nominee, that he’ll have good explanations for his positions,” Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, said on CNBC Wednesday.

“He’s gone through his career being a pundit and having really interesting things to say about a whole range of topics,” Hassett said, adding that nominees “have to be more careful about every little word that you utter, and I’m sure that he’s going to start pulling back his op-eds and preparing for confirmation, should that arise.”

Hassett in the TV interview was responding to a question about Moore’s comment that the Fed should cut interest rates by 50 basis points. While Hassett’s remarks could be construed as raising questions about the certainty of Moore’s nomination, that was not his intention, according to his office.

“Chairman Hassett fully supports the nomination of Steve Moore to the Federal Reserve board,” CEA spokeswoman Rachael Slobodien said in an email. “In his interview earlier today, Chairman Hassett spoke in the conditional about Moore’s nomination because no nomination is official until the White House has sent the individual’s name to the Senate.”

Trump hasn’t yet formally nominated Moore, whose selection to the seven-member board would require Senate approval.

But the president was unambiguous in his support for Moore on Friday when he tweeted that the economist would be his latest pick for the Fed board. “I have known Steve for a long time -- and have no doubt he will be an outstanding choice,” Trump wrote.

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