Andy Puzder, President Trump’s pick for US Secretary of Labor, has withdrawn his name from nomination, just 24 hours before his expected Senate hearing was to take place, according to Fortune. Bowing to pressure, Puzder becomes the first Trump cabinet nominee to fail to make it through the nomination and confirmation proceedings.
Puzder’s initial nomination raised ethical and legal questions, around such issues as his employment of an undocumented housekeeper without paying the required federal taxes on her status an employee and abuse allegations from his ex-wife, Lisa Henning, who filed for divorce in 1988. Puzder’s nomination subsequently sparked protests and mass walkouts of fast-food workers around the country, as well as strongly-worded letters of criticism from senators, including Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), who expressed concern and outrage over Puzder’s anti-worker record on minimum wage, unions, and labor fairness.
“From the very start of the nomination process, it was clear that fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder was unfit to lead the U.S. Department of Labor,” Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, said in a statement. “Thanks to fierce opposition from a diverse group of Americans, including people deeply concerned about the treatment of workers and of women, enough senators came to the same realization, forcing Mr. Puzder’s withdrawal from the nomination.”
Questions were also raised over Puzder’s past statements about racy advertisements for his restaurant chain Carl’s Jr. He defended the sexualized ads in 2015 by saying, “I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it's very American.”
Had Puzder not withdrawn his nomination, it is very likely he would not have gotten past the confirmation hearing. Reuters reports that four Republican senators would have voted against him, tipping the scales in favor of Democrat opposition. There is no word yet on President Trump’s replacement pick for the Secretary of Labor post.