President Donald Trump has said privately that he knows Herman Cain will have trouble getting confirmed to the Federal Reserve Board, people familiar with the matter said Thursday.
Some of Mr. Trump's closest advisers want the FBI to finish its background check before he makes his decision on whether to formally nominate Cain, but others said they are aware of the misgivings of GOP senators and that they wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Cain withdraws.
The people, who were granted anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations, spoke hours after North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer said he wouldn't back Mr. Cain if Mr. Trump nominated him to the Fed, and he hopes the president will make another choice.
Mr. Cramer joined three other Senate Republicans who said they'd vote against confirmation, and Democrats remained united in their opposition. Mr. Cramer, and other lawmakers, have cited allegations of sexual harassment that derailed Mr. Cain's 2012 presidential candidacy.
"If I had to vote today, I couldn't vote for Herman Cain," said Mr. Cramer, a Trump ally. "The allegations that drove him from the presidential race are just so obviously serious. I'm not talking about his position on interest rates or anything like that, but the sexual harassment stuff. Until it's better explained I couldn't vote for him."
Mr. Cain's bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination ended after he was accused of sexual harassment in the 1990s, when he led the National Restaurant Association. Mr. Cain has called the allegations unfounded.
At the White House on Thursday, Mr. Trump didn't respond to a question about Mr. Cain at an Oval Office meeting about veterans.
On Thursday, White House economist Kevin Hassett praised Mr. Cain. "He has a lot of experience," he told reporters. "I think he's a smart and competent person."
Mr. Cramer joins Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Cory Gardner of Colorado in expressing opposition to a nomination, which would leave him with just 49 potential Republican votes in the 100-member chamber.
Mr. Romney didn't mention the harassment allegations, but said that the president should choose someone less partisan and with more knowledge of economics.