Saule Omarova, Joe Biden’s pick to head up a big US bank regulator, has withdrawn her nomination, dealing a blow to the White House after it had defended her amid pushback from Congress and Wall Street over her academic writings and her upbringing in the then Soviet Union.
“I nominated Saule because of her deep expertise in financial regulation and her longstanding, respected career in the private sector, the public sector, and as a leading academic in the field,” Biden said on Tuesday in a statement.
“But unfortunately, from the very beginning of her nomination, Saule was subjected to inappropriate personal attacks that were far beyond the pale.”
Biden in September announced he intended to appoint the Cornell University law professor to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which supervises US national banks.
She subsequently faced a backlash from Republicans and the banking industry, with critics focusing on her upbringing and her more recent career as an academic with proposals including a state-run bank account system.
Omarova in a letter said that while it had been a “great honour” to be nominated, “at this point in the process, however, it is no longer tenable for me to continue as a presidential nominee”.
In an interview with the Financial Times in October, Omarova, who was born in what is now known as Kazakhstan, had accused some of her critics of racism and of targeting her for being a minority candidate as well as a woman.