Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers phoned President Barack Obama on Sunday to withdraw his nomination for Federal Reserve chairman.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in a letter to the president following phone call, Summers called his possible confirmation “acrimonious.”
“I have reluctantly concluded that any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve the interest of the Federal Reserve, the Administration or, ultimately, the interests of the nation’s ongoing economic recovery,” the letter said.
Obama issued a statement accepting the decision, describing Summers as “a critical member of my team as we faced down the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.” The president added, “I will always be grateful to Larry for his tireless work and service on behalf of his country, and I look forward to continuing to seek his guidance and counsel in the future.”
Summers was believed to be the president’s first choice to succeed Ben Bernanke, who plans to step down as Fed chair at the end of his second term on January 31, 2013. Recent revelations about the National Security Agency surveillance, as well as potential military action in Syria complicated the potential nomination. Criticism over Summers’ appointment heightened from the left as well as women’s groups and some Senate Banking Committee Democrats.
“He was very clearly the president’s choice,” a former administration official told the Journal. “After all the problems they had with the base, a big confirmation battle looked like a bridge too far.”