Why Is Stephen Moore Hanging Out with the Alt-Right?

His take on the gold standard isn't the only controversial thing about him.
April 22, 2019
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Photograph by Gage Skidmore.

Stephen Moore, Donald Trump’s nominee for the Federal Reserve, has met  considerable criticism for his unconventional views on the gold standard, his comments like  “capitalism is a lot more important than democracy” and his overt partisanship. But there’s more. Outside of the realm of economics, the Fed nominee spent the past year cozying up with nefarious far-right creatures, raising questions over whether it’s all part of the MAGA grift or something more sinister.  

This wasn’t always the case. Moore’s past includes stints at the Wall Street Journal, Cato and the Heritage Foundation. As unearthed by CNN’s KFile team this week, Moore called Trump’s immigration policies “extreme nativist,” “crazy” and “dangerous” during a 2015 radio interview with, of all people, Larry Kudlow (who compared then-candidate Trump’s immigration platform to “the worst parts of World War II”). Moore went on to advise the president’s campaign, champion the GOP tax bill, and publish the ode to his greatness Trumponomics.

Last fall, however, Moore started cropping up at some … interesting … speaking engagements. In September, he spoke at the Phyllis Schlafly 47th “Eagle Council” co-hosted by the Gateway Pundit; his fellow speakers included Mike Cernovich, Stefan Molyneux, Pamela Geller, Joe Arpaio, and Laura Loomer. This is the same gathering that bestowed on Rep. Steve King the “Phyllis Schlafly Award for Excellence in Leadership” months before King defended white supremacy in a  New York Times interview and promptly lost all of his House committee assignments. The conference also honored several far-right European nationalists, including one representative for the People’s Alternative for Deutschland (whose members have marched with Neo-Nazis and advocated for Germany going “180 degrees” in its Holocaust memorial policies).

“I met so many black and Hispanics!” Moore told the conference, recalling his days on the Trump campaign.  “Trump doesn’t really like to read, so we figured out the way to convince him of things was to show him pictures.”

I contacted Moore to ask about his attendance at the gathering.

“I love, love Phyllis Schlafly,” he said.

Shortly after the Eagle Council, Moore’s name appeared alongside Milo Yiannopoulos and Loomer at the American Priority Conference (which included a Qanon “expert” panel, before the session was delisted). Moore backed out of the event (I asked him about that but he declined to comment), but he later gave an interview to Jacob Wohl. The Q&A was briefly featured on Wohl’s Medium page, and was scrubbed after the 21-year-old aficionado of hipster coffee shops was referred to the FBI for peddling false accusations against the special counsel.

In the Trump era, there is a pipeline laundering conspiracy theories, racism, and bad ideas into the heart of the party’s mainstream. The leading players are always changing, like a Game of Thrones for fascists, and those who push the GOP further right one day can be banished to the fringes the next. In this world, Moore has used his credentials at prestigious conservative institutions to bestow political capital on unsavory far-right characters, transforming into an “extreme nativist” himself.  

Davis Richardson

Davis Richardson is a policy reporter for Observer who has written for Vice, the Daily Beast and Wired. Follow him on Twitter @davisoliverr