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Herman Cain pulls name from consideration for Fed Board, Trump says

Jerome Powell: The "60 Minutes" interview
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell: The "60 Minutes" interview 13:17

Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain is out of the running for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, several weeks after President Trump said he wanted him to serve.

Mr. Trump tweeted Monday that Cain asked him not to formally nominate him for the seat. Cain told The Wall Street Journal five days ago he had no intention of withdrawing from consideration, despite opposition by some Republicans and renewed questions about sexual harassment allegations from his past.

"My friend Herman Cain, a truly wonderful man, has asked me not to nominate him for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. I will respect his wishes. Herman is a great American who truly loves our Country!" the president said in a tweet after participating in the White House Easter Egg Roll. 

Top White House advisers like Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, said in recent weeks it was up to Cain whether to stay in the running, a comment Cain and others read as giving him a face-saving way to pull out. In 2011, Cain was accused of sexual harassment by former employees during the 1990s, allegations he denied. Several Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, said in recent weeks they would oppose Cain if he was nominated to the Fed.

Even as the White House insisted it backed Cain's selection, Kudlow made clear the White House was interviewing other candidates for the board beyond Cain and another somewhat controversial pick, conservative economic commentator Stephen Moore

"We're talking to a number of candidates. We always do," Kudlow told reporters outside the White House last week. 

Despite the questions about Cain's fitness for the post and questions about whether he would have enough support in the Senate to be confirmed, the former pizza chain executive said as recently as last week that he was "very committed" to the process and would not back down. 

"I don't quit because of negative criticism," Cain told the Journal. "I don't quit because of negative attacks. And I don't quit because several senators have expressed reservations about my qualifications."

Cain, who ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, became famous for his "9-9-9" tax proposal — a 9 percent corporate tax rate, a 9 percent personal income tax rate and a 9 percent national sales tax. 

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