In Focus: Puzder Withdraws Nomination for Secretary of Labor

By Allen Smith, J.D. Feb 15, 2017
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A controversial selection from the outset, CKE Restaurants CEO Andrew Puzder has withdrawn his nomination to lead the Department of Labor in the Trump administration, just the 13th cabinet choice to ever withdraw his nomination. Opponents of his nomination claim he has violated wage and hour, safety and equal employment opportunity regulations at his restaurants. But a decades-old video of an ex-wife claiming on Oprah Winfrey's talk show that she was the victim of domestic abuse and the hiring of an undocumented worker for domestic work may have been his nomination's undoing.

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Donald Trump Administration

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· Trump's work policies · First 100 days

On Feb. 16, President Donald Trump announced he would put forth a new nominee. Possible contenders included veterans of the National Labor Relations Board, a university professor and a state labor secretary.

Family Considerations

In a statement, Puzder announced his withdrawal from consideration, stating, "After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I am withdrawing my nomination for secretary of labor. I am honored to have been considered by President Donald Trump to lead the Department of Labor and put America's workers and businesses back on a path to sustainable prosperity." (Fox News)

Video of Abuse Allegations on 'Oprah'

The withdrawal came after members of Congress reviewed decades-old abuse allegations from his ex-wife, which she has retracted. His ex-wife made the allegations in an interview on Oprah Winfrey's TV show. A video of the talk show appearance made the rounds on Capitol Hill this week. (Time)

Issues Plagued Puzder

Republican senators informed the White House that his nomination could not pass the Senate. Puzder already was plagued with such issues as being tutored by a mob lawyer while working toward his law degree and failing to pay taxes on an undocumented immigrant who worked for him as a housekeeper. (Politico)

Undocumented Worker Was Problematic

Puzder's hiring of an undocumented worker for domestic work and his support for more liberal immigration policies resulted in resistance to his nomination among some Senate Republicans. (The Washington Post)

Unpopular Positions

He was criticized for opposing a minimum wage increase and making statements that were viewed as sexist. He also referred to his employees as "the worst of the worst" and spoke about the advantages of replacing employees with machines. But he denied the allegations of domestic abuse. (NBC News and The New Yorker)

Ex-Wife Blasts Critics

Lisa Fierstein, Puzder's ex-wife, spoke out against Puzder's critics. "None of the events from so far in the past have anything to do with Andy's kindness and generosity and his ability to serve his country." (Fox News)

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Next Nominee Should 'Put Workers First'

Worker rights groups immediately called for Trump to make the next nominee for secretary of labor someone "who will always put workers first and foremost," as Christine Owens, the executive director of the nonprofit National Employment Law Project, said in a statement. (The Huffington Post)


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