Stephen Moore, President Trump’s preferred candidate for the Federal Reserve Board, has made a string of sexist comments about women in sport. Because of course he has.
The United States Federal Reserve Board (FRB) is the body that oversees the Federal Reserve System, which means it is in charge of the US’ financial policies. Featuring seven members, each appointed by the sitting president and confirmed by the Senate, the board has an enormous responsibility to ensure the financial stability of the country and make crucial decisions on issues of national economics.
Currently, President Donald Trump is in the process of announcing his nominees for the 14-year term on the FRB. His top choice? A man who has written several columns in which he voiced sexist opinions about women in sport.
Stephen Moore is an economics expert who previously served on the board of the Wall Street Journal and was one of Trump’s advisors in the 2016 presidential campaign. He’s also a writer, and in several columns for the conservative publication National Review in 2002, he argued that women should, ideally, not be involved in professional sport at any level. Unless they’re good-looking.
“Here’s the rule change I propose: no more women refs, no women announcers, no women beer venders, no women anything,” Moore wrote in his column.
“There is of course, an exception to this rule. Women are permitted to participate if, and only if, they look like [reporter] Bonnie Bernstein. The fact that Bonnie knows nothing about basketball is entirely irrelevant.”
Moore also added that Bernstein, a reporter for CBS, should “wear a halter top” when she is on screen. “This is a no-brainer CBS. What in the world are you waiting for?”
Some other gems from Moore’s columns? That female referees are an “obscenity” and that mixed games of men’s and women’s basketball are a “travesty”.
“Is there no area in life where men can take a vacation from women,” Moore lamented, in a column on the “feminisation of basketball”.
In addition, Moore has spoken out about equal pay for women in sport, claiming that “Venus Williams is a multi-millionaire not inspire of the fact that she is a woman but precisely because she’s a woman. She receives much higher pay than an equally skilled man. Isn’t that precisely the opposite of what is meant by pay equity?”
Charming, right? We could go on, but there are so many other things we’d rather be doing than wading through the ravings of a man who doesn’t believe that female athletes deserve pay parity or that women should be banned from participating in professional sport, especially where men are involved. (Moore is also against having female commentators. “Is nothing sacred?” he demanded. “This is like having wives attend a bachelor party.”)
This is the man that Trump wants to nominate to the FRB, charged with overseeing the country’s financial decisions – a person who doesn’t believe that female athletes should be fairly compensated for their work.
Moore has hit back at those who have unearthed his odious columns, claiming that “they’re pulling a Kavanaugh against me.” Speaking to a radio program this week, Moore claimed that “they have six full-time investigative reporters looking into me at The Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN. You know… I kind of wear it as a badge of honour, that they’re so afraid of me.”
The allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Moore are different: Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault, Moore is a misogynist.
But the casual way with which Moore dismisses criticism against him is abhorrent, and speaks of the insidious nature of sexism and misogyny. “This was a spoof. I have a sense of humour,” was Moore’s emailed response to CNN about his words.
He later added: “I wrote some politically incorrect columns, and some of them go back to the turn of the century. They were a long time ago that I kind of wish I hadn’t written now. They certainly don’t reflect my views. But what it is, is a diversion though.”
Moore’s words have an eerie echo of his benefactor Trump’s excuse for the leaked Access Hollywood tapes in which he said that men should assault women and “grab them by the pussy”.
Back in 2016, when those comments were unearthed, Trump dismissed the remarks as “locker room banter”. No wonder Moore feels emboldened to explain away his comments as spoofs inspired by his alleged sense of humour. If the president says that a little harmless locker room banter is fine, then who is to say otherwise?
In the wake of these unearthed columns, Democrats have urged Trump to withdraw Moore’s planned nomination. Toni Van Pelt, the president of the National Organization for Women, said that Moore represents Trump’s worrying tendency towards stacking the highest political offices with “sycophants and ideologues”.
“Donald Trump thinks he can populate the US government the way he picks golf partners at Mar-a-Lago,” Van Pelt said. “He surrounds himself with sycophants and ideologues who similarly embrace his sexism, misogyny and anger.”
“Trump’s nominees do not need to be qualified – so long as they praise him, pledge slavish loyalty, and share his attitudes towards women.”