Breaking News Emails
President Donald Trump said Thursday that he has recommended Herman Cain, a former pizza company executive and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, for the Federal Reserve Board.
"He's a very terrific man, a terrific person," Trump said. "He is a friend of mine. I have recommended him highly for the Fed. I've told my folks that that's the man."
Trump added that Cain is going through a background check, "and I would imagine he would be in great shape."
"I find Herman to be an outstanding person, a truly outstanding individual," Trump continued. "I would think he would do very well there."
Two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News earlier Thursday that Trump was considering nominating Cain for the position, which carries a 14-year term and must be confirmed by the Senate. Cain's possible nomination was first reported by Bloomberg in January and again by Axios on Thursday.
The possible nomination comes as Trump's most recent Federal Reserve pick, Stephen Moore, has come under fire for reports about his back taxes and failing to make alimony payments to his ex-wife. Trump has repeatedly criticized the Fed for its monetary policies and its stewardship of the economy under Chairman Jerome Powell, who was confirmed in January 2018.
A spokesperson for Cain declined to comment when contacted by NBC News.
Cain ran the Nebraska-based Godfather’s Pizza franchise from 1986 to 1996 and has claimed his leadership saved the company from bankruptcy. He frequently touted his business acumen in his run for president and was briefly a front-runner and tea party favorite among a crowded field of GOP hopefuls.
The businessman ended his presidential campaign, however, after allegations surfaced that he had sexually harassed several women around the time he headed the National Restaurant Association, which he ran from 1996 to 1999, and that he had an extramarital affair.
Four women alleged inappropriate sexual behavior during their time at the association, two of whom were reportedly paid a settlement by the trade group. One of the women accused Cain of groping her and attempting to force her head toward his lap. Another woman alleged Cain had a 13-year extramarital affair with her that ended just before he started to run for president.
Cain vehemently denied the allegations at the time.
"The charges and the accusations I absolutely reject. They simply didn't happen," he said at a press conference in 2011.
Trump at the time publicly defended Cain, calling the accusations an "unfair witch hunt."
Cain joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in 1989, later becoming its deputy chairman and then chairman. During a GOP presidential debate in 2011, Cain criticized the direction of the Federal Reserve, arguing that it should be more accountable to the public.
“Yes, it should be audited," he said. "And, secondly, I believe that its focus needs to be narrowed. I don't believe in ending the Fed, I believe in fixing the Fed."
"For many, many decades, the Fed did its job when it was singularly focused on sound money," Cain continued. "When we wake up in the morning, we expect 60 minutes to be in an hour. Now when we wake up, because of some of the actions of the current Fed, we don't know what the value of the dollar is going to be."
In recent years, Cain tweeted favorably about raising interest rates — something Trump has repeatedly criticized the Fed for doing last year.
When he ran for president, Cain promoted the "gold standard," a return to U.S. currency being backed by gold.