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Labor Secretary Nominee Puzder Can’t Take The Heat, Withdraws From Consideration

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Labor Secretary Nominee Puzder Can’t Take The Heat, Withdraws From Consideration

Puzder, Trump, Labor Secretary

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a blow to President Donald Trump as he tries to assemble his administration, his nominee for labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his name from consideration on Wednesday amid concerns that he could not garner enough Senate votes to be confirmed.

Puzder’s decision to withdraw is yet another setback this week for a White House still grappling with fallout from Monday night’s abrupt resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn, after less than a month in the job.

Puzder, the chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants Inc, which franchises fast-food chains including Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr, has been at the center of a swirl of controversies, complaints, and potential conflicts.

He admitted earlier this month that he and his wife had employed an undocumented person as a housekeeper. He faced a flurry of complaints and legal cases brought in recent weeks and months by workers against his business and its franchises. Most recently, a decades-old Oprah Winfrey tape raising allegations of domestic abuse by his ex-wife resurfaced, though those allegations had been withdrawn.

“After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I am withdrawing my nomination for Secretary of Labor,” Puzder said in a statement.

Puzder’s withdrawal came one day before his scheduled confirmation hearing.

At least seven Republican senators, including Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, declined to publicly back Puzder in advance of the confirmation hearing.

For weeks now, Republican senators have been telling Senator John Cornyn, the second-highest ranking Republican, that they believed some of their colleagues would join Collins and Murkowski in opposing Puzder, according to a senior Senate Republican aide.


The Labor Department oversees compliance with federal laws that mandate safe working conditions, a minimum hourly wage, overtime wages, and prohibit employment discrimination.

As labor secretary, Puzder would have shaped the department’s approach to these issues, including whether to defend an Obama administration rule expanding overtime pay to millions of workers that has been challenged in the courts.

Earlier this month, Puzder admitted he and his wife had employed an undocumented person as a housekeeper and had to pay back taxes as a result.

Workers at some of CKE’s restaurants have filed claims in recent weeks alleging they were victims of wage theft or victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Another possible problem were allegations dating back to 1986 that Puzder had physically abused his now ex-wife, Lisa Henning, now known as Lisa Fierstein.

Fierstein filed for divorce in 1987 and later retracted her allegations, but not before appearing anonymously as a victim of domestic abuse on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Last week, the OWN Network released a copy of that tape to the Senate committee so both Democratic and Republican members could view it, according to an aide.

Democrats on Wednesday cheered over the news of Puzder’s withdrawal.

“From the start, it’s been clear that Puzder is uniquely unqualified to serve as secretary of labor,” said Patty Murray, the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

(Additional reporting by Timothy Ahmann, Richard Cowan, Robert Iafolla and Amanda Becker; Editing by Linda Stern and Leslie Adler)

IMAGE: Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, takes part in a panel discussion titled “Understanding the Post-Recession Consumer” at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California  April 30, 2012.  REUTERS/Fred Prouser



  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 15, 2017

    They’re dropping like flies, but there’s still one bigly fly left. After reading about Trump’s functional illiteracy and watching several YouTube videos highlighting Trump’s inability to read, things are starting to fall into place. Which raises numerous questions in mind—maybe the rest of you have similar questions.
    1) How is it that Trump was able to operate so effectively throughout his adult life without anyone noticing Trump’s illiteracy?
    2) Was Congress always aware of Trump’s problem with reading and just decided that it was OK to put essentially a very smart seal in front of a camera, or on a stage, and hoped that millions of people around the world would never notice that something was terribly amiss with Trump?
    3) Is Trump a sort of “idiot savant” without any real math/science/music gifts, but nevertheless is capable of bluffing his way through life so brilliantly as to have hoodwinked so many who dealt with him up close?
    4) Did Congress actually think that Trump could be trusted to know the details of the requirements for each Department, and understand the importance of integrity and consistency?
    5) Finally, are the majority of GOP politicians as mentally/intellectually as suspect as Trump?

    These are the sort of questions which hopefully some sane people in Congress will be sharp enough to assess, will have the spine to address these issues openly among themselves without fear of any petulant response from his lordship, and take the necessary steps to act decisively and appropriately.

    1. Daniel Jones February 16, 2017

      Aaron, Ever since George W. was elected, I have had the opinion that the “Republicans” (who plainly wish to tear down the Republic) wanted Zaphod Beeblebrox as a President.
      “The role of the President of the Galaxy was not to wield power; it was to distract attention away from power.”
      Who better to distract the American people from actual governance, in the minds of the Financial Backers, than a reality television huckster that has literally conned his way throughout his entire adult life?

      The answer is becoming clear; just about anyone, since the Donald’s ego is so huge he can’t conceal his moves and his people can’t stand the heat.

    2. Daniel Jones February 16, 2017

      Why Trump got support when all this was awaiting comes down to a simple problem; the desire on the part of the Republican leadership (the financial backers) to appoint/elect Zaphod Beeblebrox as President. (I have had that view of the issue ever since George W. got the nod.)
      “The job of the President of the Galaxy was never to wield power, but rather to distract attention from how power was wielded.”
      Who better in the minds of the Corporate Sponsors to do that with the American public than a reality television huckster who has literally conned his way throughout his entire adult life?

      The answer is just about anybody, as it’s turning out, as his ego’s too big to avoid showing his hand and his minions can’t take the heat.

    3. plc97477 February 16, 2017

      I think he was just such a bully that no one dared to point out his failings.

    4. Rebecca Hendricks February 16, 2017

      Well written, thank you. I believe his well-developed nature of narcissism, manipulation, initial charm/need for approval, combined with his white good looks, money, and power pedigree has gotten him most of the way. Then his alpha bullying and lack of morals (and the gift of being a political outsider) took him across the finish line. The GOP establishment underestimated him greatly and now, in their greed to advance their platform, they have to deal with him, which has meant justifying all that he does and says. We are finally seeing cracks in the dike, but the need for power and money are great motivators.

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  3. FireBaron February 16, 2017

    Well, at least one of the unqualified morons has recognized reality. Unfortunately we still have DeVos, Mnucin, etc. still there, not to mention Teflon Donnie – the most unqualified person to sit in the Oval Office since Warren G. Harding!

    1. The lucky one February 16, 2017

      Yes, when Bush, Reagan and Nixon look good by comparison you know there is a problem.

  4. The lucky one February 16, 2017

    Expect more of the same as the year unfolds. These CEO members of the millionaire/billionaire club are not used to the kind of public scrutiny that cabinet members are sometimes subject to. The scrutiny will be more intense than usual since the boss has pretty much dared the press to come after him.

    Poor widdle Trumpy, the most unfairly treated billionaire in history (that is if he truly is a billionaire which is doubtful).


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