April 9, 2019 / 1:03 AM / 16 days ago

Cain, Trump's pick for Fed, dons 'armor of God' against critics

SAN FRANCISCO, April 8 (Reuters) - Herman Cain, the former pizza chain executive who President Donald Trump has picked for a policy seat on the Federal Reserve, said on Monday he is being attacked for being a conservative, but that he will put on “the full armor of God” to protect himself.

“Because I ran as a Republican for president and the United States Senate, and because I am an outspoken voice of conservatism, an outspoken voice of the Constitution and the laws, I’m being attacked,” Cain said in a 30-minute video published on Facebook as he faces vetting for a Fed seat. He also vented against the $15 minimum wage, socialism and “lunatic liberals.”

Cain, who like Trump’s other pick for an open seat on the Fed’s Board of Governors is a political loyalist to the president, has come under intense scrutiny since Trump announced that he planned to nominate him. Cain’s withdrawal from the 2012 presidential race amid allegations of sexual harassment is among issues that have been brought up. He has denied the allegations.

Cain said people have been writing “negative, unfair, insane things” about him and Stephen Moore, the conservative commentator whom Trump has picked for the other open seat on the Fed’s Board of Governors.

“We are not running as a twosome,” Cain said, adding that Moore is probably, like him, undergoing a series of background checks before Trump’s official nomination. “It’s almost unbelievable how much information you have to pull, in my case for the last 50 years, that’s how long I’ve been in the workforce.”

But, Cain said, when critics ignore his real qualifications and go on “hack attack,” he smiles because he has on his “full armor of God,” quoting a verse from the Bible.

Cain said his experience as a director at the Kansas City Fed in the 1990s helps qualify him for the position on the Board of Governors.

Unlike positions on the Fed’s regional banks, nominations to the Board of Governors require Senate approval.

Trump has railed against the Fed and his own pick for the central bank’s chairman, Jerome Powell, after a series of four interest rate increases last year that Trump claims have held back an economy that otherwise would be growing like a “rocket ship.”

Both Cain and Moore have expressed support for Trump’s economic policies and Moore has said he would support a rate cut to boost growth. Cain suggested in February that the Fed should more worried about deflation than inflation.

On Monday, Cain again had a few words about the U.S. economy, noting that “wages in 2017 grew 3.2 percent...that is significant.”

His remarks may have been a reference to the 3.2 percent rise in average hourly wages in March reported Friday in the monthly U.S. government jobs report, a key piece of data for the Fed.

“Wages are going to go up in order to try to keep your best people, pure and simple, that’s what business people do,” he said.

Some Fed officials have said they would view strongly rising wages as reason to raise rates further.

Reporting by Ann Saphir Editing by Leslie Adler

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