WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Labor Department, fast-food magnate Andrew Puzder, forfeited his nomination on Wednesday afternoon, according to sources who spoke with CNN.
The withdrawal came after a 1990 video of Puzder’s ex-wife on Oprah surfaced where she claimed Puzder had physically abused and threatened her. His ex-wife has since withdrawn those charges. Her 1987 divorce records – at least some of them – were sealed shortly after Puzder’s name started being circulated as a possible Labor Secretary nominee. The video was made available for senators to review.
Puzder’s withdrawal also coincided with requests from Senate Republicans that the White House nullify his appointment. Puzder’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions had been scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. Puzder did not have the Republican votes to be confirmed.
Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc., a California-based holding company that owns popular fast-food chains such as Hardees and Carl’s Jr.
Puzder has come under fire from Democrats for having previously suggested opposition to raising the minimum wage as well as other labor practices championed by unions and organizations that advocate for workers’ rights.
Puzder was criticized for having admitted that he unknowingly employed an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper. Puzder has also admitted having unknowingly hired undocumented immigrants at his restaurants.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) last week insisted that President Trump rescind Puzder’s nomination. As of late, reports had emerged suggesting Puzder lacked requisite GOP support as well.
Trump nominated Puzder to head the Department of Labor in December. The fast-food CEO contributed large sums of money to both the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee.
Puzder, an attorney, is staunchly anti-abortion and has been involved in both legal and political efforts geared toward advancing that goal.