President Donald Trump is standing behind former Rep. Scott Garrett, his choice to head the Export-Import Bank, amid escalating pressure from business groups to pull the plug on the nomination.
“Scott Garrett is imminently [sic] qualified to lead the Ex-Im Bank,” White House spokeswoman Natalie Strom said in a statement to POLITICO. “The President stands behind his nomination and is looking forward to his confirmation.”
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Trump’s defense of the New Jersey Republican comes as rumors swirl that Garrett may withdraw amid fears that his nomination will not win enough votes to clear the Senate. Lawmakers from both parties have raised concerns about him, largely because he strongly opposed the bank while serving in Congress. The Senate Banking Committee, which will be responsible for vetting his nomination, has not yet received his paperwork.
Administration officials said Garrett’s nomination has been a topic of conversation among senior Trump aides in recent days. Aides have pointed to intensifying blowback from influential business associations that are allied with the president, including an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal last week blasting Garrett by National Association of Manufacturers President Jay Timmons.
Trump has sought to cultivate close ties with business groups and powerful CEOs. He has met with more than 330 corporate executives since taking office, often relying on them to drive his policy agenda. The president also set up a manufacturing advisory council packed with NAM members.