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Fourth GOP senator comes out against Trump Fed pick Cain

The Hill logo The Hill 4/11/2019 Sylvan Lane

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A fourth Republican senator announced Thursday that he would oppose Herman Cain if President Trump nominated him to the Federal Reserve Board, all but dooming his potential appointment.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), a close Trump ally, told reporters that "if I had to vote right now, there's no way I could vote for" Cain. The president had floated the businessman for the Fed board last week.

Cramer's opposition makes him the fourth Republican to denounce Cain's potential nomination, effectively ending Cain's chance at confirmation. GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Mitt Romney (Utah) all came out against Cain on Wednesday.

With four of the 53 Senate Republicans opposed to Cain, he would not reach the necessary 51 votes for confirmation without getting support from Democrats, which is unlikely.

Cramer, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, cited the four allegations of sexual harassment made against Cain that helped derail his 2012 Republican presidential campaign.

"It's hard for me to get over the harassment allegations from the past," Cramer said. "His showmanship doesn't bother me. His business experience, I think, is great. Simplifying the tax code is fine by me. But character still does matter.

"I know more things about him that would keep him out than would get him in," Cramer added. "I'd be happy to go through the whole vetting process, but it's so uphill it's hard for me to see him getting up there."

a man wearing glasses: Fourth GOP senator comes out against Trump Fed pick Cain © Greg Nash Fourth GOP senator comes out against Trump Fed pick Cain Four women who worked for Cain at the National Restaurant Association, a Washington trade group he led from 1996 to 1998, accused him of sexual harassment. Cain has denied all of the allegations but reached financial settlements with two of his accusers.

Larry Kudlow, Trump's top economic adviser, had said earlier Thursday during The Hill's Newsmaker Series that the president continued to support Cain despite the opposition from GOP senators the previous day.

"As the president said yesterday, he continues to support [Cain] and we'll see how that turns out," Kudlow said. "He's in the process; we'll let him go through it, the president insists on that."

Trump and White House officials have said that Cain's nomination was contingent on a background check conducted by the FBI, which is part of the standard vetting process for presidential nominees.

Trump told reporters Wednesday that Cain is a "wonderful man," but acknowledged doubts about the viability of his nomination amid opposition from some Republicans.

"He's been a supporter of mine for a long time," Trump said. "As to how he's doing in the process, that I don't know. You go through a process. But Herman is a great guy, and I hope he does well."

Republican senators have asked Trump in public and private to reconsider any plans to nominate Cain, due to allegations of sexual harassment and his leadership of a super PAC supporting the president's reelection.

Cain himself said last week that he was unsure if he would survive the "cumbersome" White House vetting process, but relished the chance to defend himself.

"Let them go back and dig up eight-year-old stuff," Cain said in a video posted to his Facebook page Friday. "I will be able to explain this time where they wouldn't let me explain it last time. They were too busy believing the accusers."

--Updated at 3:02 p.m.

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