Herman Cain, who ran for president in 2012 and was once considered as a Trump nominee for the Federal Reserve Board, has died at age 74 after being hospitalized for coronavirus.
Cain served as an associate minister at Antioch Baptist Church in Atlanta.
He had been healthy in recent years, but was in a high-risk group because of his history with cancer, according to a blog post by Dan Calabrese, the media director of Cain’s website.
“We’re heartbroken, and the world is poorer,” Calabrese wrote.
Cain remained a vocal Trump supporter even after his nomination was withdrawn for the Federal Reserve, CNBC reported. He attended Trump’s controversial June 20 reelection rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. About nine or 10 days later, he was diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Cain was hospitalized in Atlanta on July 1, two days after learning he had tested positive, according to a statement posted to his social media accounts at the time. He tweeted a photograph of himself at the rally looking happy and surrounded by others who also appeared maskless.
In a recently deleted tweet, a defiant, anti-mask, anti-social distancing Cain sounded excited about attending Trump’s Mount Rushmore rally. “Masks will not be mandatory for the event, which will be attended by President Trump. PEOPLE ARE FED UP,” Cain tweeted on July 1.
Ahead of the July 3 Mount Rushmore rally, Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said people who were concerned about catching the virus could stay home. “Those who want to come and join us, we’ll be giving out free face masks, if they choose to wear one,” Noem told Fox’s Laura Ingraham. “We won’t be social distancing. We’re asking them to come, be ready to celebrate, to enjoy the freedoms and the liberties that we have in this country, and to talk about our history.”
When Cain was first hospitalized with covid-19, “we knew … that this was going to be a rough fight,” Calabrese wrote. “He had trouble breathing … it became clear pretty quickly that he was in for a battle…
“Five days ago, doctors told us they thought he would eventually recover, although it wouldn’t be quick. We were relieved,” Calabrese added.
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Cain is among the highest-profile public U.S. figures to have die from Covid-19. A survivor of stage 4 colon cancer, he was a business executive and board chairman of a branch of Kansas City’s Federal Reserve Bank before moving into Republican politics and eventually becoming a presidential candidate, CNBC reported.
Cain’s nomination for the Federal Reserve Board was not actually official but was doomed from the start. Some Republicans made a “behind-the-scenes” play to get Trump to drop Cain, and four Senate Republicans opposed his nomination — enough to sink his chances, The Week reported.
Cain had recently started hosting a new show on Newsmax TV. “He was so excited about it, and so pumped up about playing a role in the 2020 election campaign,” Calabrese wrote. “At an age when a lot of people are looking to slow down, he was taking on new projects, booking speaking opportunities.”
Ellene Carmichael tweeted, “I’m very saddened to learn of the passing of my former boss, Herman Cain. “His American Dream story is one for the history books. Overcame absolute destitution, genuine discrimination, stage IV cancer and so much hardship in between. Rose up the ranks of America’s biggest corporations, advised presidential campaigns, chaired a Federal Reserve bank … After successfully completing college as a “Morehouse Man,” a distinction he proudly carried with him his whole life, he became a rocket scientist for the Dept. of the Navy. Quite literally a rocket scientist …
Rose up the ranks of Coca-Cola, Pillsbury and Pepsi. Turned Godfather’s Pizza around from bankruptcy to solvency in 14 months. … This man knew business and he knew people. His signature approach was to go to the people closest to the problem to solve it. It worked.”
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