Believing Him: For Trump, Sticking With Men Like Stephen Moore Is Nothing New

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

WASHINGTON — Stephen Moore, President Trump’s preferred choice for the Federal Reserve, has written that women should not serve in the military or serve beer at men’s basketball games — unless they look like his favorite female ESPN commentator and dress in halter tops. He has scraped through a messy divorce, failing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in alimony and child support to his ex-wife.

Confronted by his history, Mr. Moore has been defiant, saying he views the attacks on his character as a “badge of honor.”

If Mr. Moore sounds a lot like Mr. Trump, that may be no coincidence. Gleefully indiscreet, politically incorrect and unrepentant about his views of women, Mr. Moore is not just similar to the president, but also the latest in a long line of male malefactors for whom Mr. Trump displays a strange affinity.

Mr. Trump, who has his own troubled history with women and has bragged about sexual misconduct, has displayed an almost across-the-board disdain for accusations of harassment, assault or just plain sexism lodged against men who also proclaim their innocence, as he does.

The president has not formally nominated Mr. Moore, who now finds himself on a bumpy road to the Federal Reserve Board. But it’s not because the recently unearthed writings, or juicy details about his extramarital affair and subsequent divorce, have diminished him in the eyes of the president. Mr. Trump is still backing him, as he has other men under fire for their own alleged conduct. And in turn, so are the people around him.

“I don’t think it’s germane,” Larry Kudlow, Mr. Trump’s top economic adviser, told Bloomberg News, referring to Mr. Moore’s past writings about women. “I think he was making a spoof. Our support is still there.”

For Mr. Trump, it’s par for the course. He stuck with Roy S. Moore, the failed Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, after he was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with underage girls. He praised Bill O’Reilly, the former Fox News host, as “a good person” who he did not believe “did anything wrong,” days after The New York Times reported that he had settled with five women who filed harassment claims against him.

More recently, the president went out of his way to note that Robert Kraft, the New England Patriots owner charged with soliciting prostitutes in a massage parlor, had proclaimed his innocence.

Mr. Trump was angered by “the terrible pain and suffering” endured by Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation process, which was almost derailed by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Justice Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were both teenagers.

“Think of your husbands, think of your sons,” Mr. Trump said at a rally in Mississippi in October, warning that such accusations could cost innocent men their jobs.

Inside his own shop, he threw a lifeline to Bill Shine, when he offered him the position of White House communications director. Mr. Shine had been pushed out of his management role at Fox News over his handling of harassment scandals at the network.

Mr. Trump’s other preferred choice for the Fed, Herman Cain, decided to drop out of the running just as old sexual harassment allegations against him resurfaced. Mr. Trump accepted his decision, but wrote on Twitter that he still considered Mr. Cain a “truly wonderful man.”

Mr. Trump’s “I…

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