Andrew Puzder withdraws name for Labour Secretary consideration
US President's pick for Labour Secretary withdraws nomination
WASHINGTON: In a blow to President Donald Trump as he tries to assemble his administration, his nominee for Labour Secretary, Mr Andrew Puzder, withdrew his name from consideration amid concerns that he could not garner enough Senate votes to be confirmed.
Mr Puzder's decision to withdraw on Wednesday is yet another setback this week for a White House still grappling with the fallout from Monday night's abrupt resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, after less than a month in the job.
Mr 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 centre 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Oprah Winfrey tape raising allegations of domestic abuse by his ex-wife resurfaced, though those allegations had been withdrawn.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 Labour," Mr Puzder said in a statement.
Puzder's withdrawal came one day before his scheduled confirmation hearing.
At least seven Republican senators, including Ms Susan Collins of Maine and Ms Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, declined to publicly back Mr 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 Ms Collins and Ms Murkowski in opposing Mr Puzder, according to a senior Senate Republican aide.
The Labour Department oversees compliance with federal laws that mandate safe working conditions, a minimum hourly wage, overtime wages and prohibit employment discrimination.
As labour secretary, Mr 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, Mr 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 Mr Puzder had physically abused his now ex-wife, Ms Lisa Henning, now known as Lisa Fierstein.- REUTERS