President’s candidate for bank branch management withdraws

Willow Omarova, President Joe Biden’s choice to serve as top banking regulator, has withdrawn his appointment to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The Cornell University law professor, a vocal critic of Wall Street banks, had been in line to supervise them as the comptroller of the currency. Omarova had been rejected by Republicans as well as moderate Democrats.

In a statement Tuesday, Biden said he had accepted Omarova’s request to withdraw her appointment and would continue to work to find a candidate for the job.

“As a strong advocate for consumers and a strong advocate for the safety and soundness of our financial system, Willow would have brought invaluable vision and perspective to our important work on behalf of the American people,” he said. “But unfortunately, from the very start of his appointment, Willow was subjected to inappropriate personal attacks that were far beyond pallor.”

During Omarova’s confirmation hearing last month, Senator John Neely Kennedy, R-La., Suggested that her education in Soviet-controlled Kazakhstan indicated possible Communist loyalty.

“I don’t know if I should call you ‘professor’ or ‘comrade’” Kennedy a told Omarova, who pushed back and said her family suffered under the Communist regime.

“Senator, I am not a communist,” Omarova said. “I don’t subscribe to this ideology. I couldn’t choose where I was born.”

But his nomination was heavy for other reasons. Senate Republicans were to oppose his confirmation unanimously, meaning that a single Democratic defection in the equally divided chamber would have failed his candidacy.

A handful of moderate Senate Democrats had expressed concerns over Omarova’s views, and private meetings with her did not seem to have appeased them.

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