Trump Labor pick Andrew Puzder withdraws his nomination

  • President Donald Trump's labor secretary choice Andrew Puzder was to go before the Senate HELP committee for the first time tomorrow 
  • Puzder's nomination was problematic, as it came to light he had hired an illegal immigrant and there were domestic violence accusations from his ex-wife 
  • Democrats were against Puzder's nomination as he worked against a minimum wage for workers as a restaurant company CEO 

By Nikki Schwab, U.s. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com

Published: 14:47 EST, 15 February 2017 | Updated: 17:07 EST, 15 February 2017

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President Donald Trump's pick for secretary of labor, fast food executive Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination. 

In a statement today, Puzder said 'after careful consideration' and 'discussions with my family' he decided to pull out. 

'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,' he said, thanking Trump for the opportunity and noting that he fully supported the president.   

This comes after video from the Oprah Winfrey Show was released, which shows Puzder's ex-wife saying he abused her.   

President Donald Trump's secretary of labor pick Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE restaurants, will withdraw his nomination President Donald Trump's secretary of labor pick Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE restaurants, will withdraw his nomination

President Donald Trump's secretary of labor pick Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE restaurants, will withdraw his nomination

Video from the Oprah Winfrey Show became public this week, which showed Andrew Puzder's ex-wife Lisa Fierstein (pictured), in disguise, alleging he abused her while they were married  Video from the Oprah Winfrey Show became public this week, which showed Andrew Puzder's ex-wife Lisa Fierstein (pictured), in disguise, alleging he abused her while they were married 

Video from the Oprah Winfrey Show became public this week, which showed Andrew Puzder's ex-wife Lisa Fierstein (pictured), in disguise, alleging he abused her while they were married 

Puzder's nomination was steeped in controversy from the start, with Democrats and progressive groups firmly against giving the top labor job to a man who has fought against the minimum wage and advertised his restaurants using scantily-clad women. 

Puzder's CKE restaurants owns Hardee's and Carl's Jr. and uses imagery of bikini-wearing models, like Paris Hilton, to sell burgers. 

Last week it came out that Puzder had hired an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper and employed her for five years.

Even with this admission, which has torpedoed other nominees in the past, Republicans clung to Puzder's nomination.

'Based upon what I've learned, since Mr. Puzder reported his mistake and voluntarily corrected it, I do not believe that this should disqualify him from being a cabinet secretary,' said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, according to the Los Angeles Times.  

President-elect Donald Trump (left) walks with CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder (right) from Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse President-elect Donald Trump (left) walks with CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder (right) from Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse

President-elect Donald Trump (left) walks with CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder (right) from Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse

Andy Puzder's Karl's Jr. and Hardee's brands use scantily clad women, like model Charlotte McKinney (pictured), to sell giant burgers  Andy Puzder's Karl's Jr. and Hardee's brands use scantily clad women, like model Charlotte McKinney (pictured), to sell giant burgers 

Andy Puzder's Karl's Jr. and Hardee's brands use scantily clad women, like model Charlotte McKinney (pictured), to sell giant burgers 

The final nail in the coffin, however, was the video of Puzder's ex-wife, dressed in a disguise, speaking on the Oprah Winfrey show in 1990. 

There was talk of this back-and-forth, but until this week video hadn't been made public. 

Then, Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network gave a copy to members of the Senate. 

Politico got in touch with another woman on the show and received a copy as well. 

The footage shows Lisa Fierstein, wearing large sunglasses in a wig, telling the talk show host that her husband, whose name wasn't used, 'vowed revenge' when she made her spousal abuse public. 

'He said, "I will see you in the gutter. This will never be over. You will pay for this,"' Fierstein said. 

Since their divorce, Fierstein has said she made her allegations to get a better child custody arrangement and that they are untrue. She wanted to gain leverage in her divorce, she said. 

She even sent a letter to the Senate HELP Committee to clear things up. 

But it was just too much to swallow with four GOP senators telling CNN they wouldn't vote for Trump's nominee, with the network reporting that another 12 were wavering. 

If all the Democrats voted against the nominee, only two Republicans could defect, with Vice President Mike Pence coming to Capitol Hill to make the tie-breaking vote, as he did with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. 

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee was to bring Puzder before the committee tomorrow morning for the first time, where he would have had to take questions from liberal firebrands including Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken.

He also would have faced an increasingly skeptical bench of Republicans. 

Alexander, the committee chairman, expressed disappointment that Puzder had pulled out.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said he believed that Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder made the right decision in pulling out of consideration  Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said he believed that Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder made the right decision in pulling out of consideration 

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said he believed that Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder made the right decision in pulling out of consideration 

'Andy Puzder has the experience and ability to make an excellent Labor Secretary, but I respect his decision,' the Republican told reporters in a statement. 'He understand the difficulties American workers face in a rapidly changing workforce and I look forward to continuing to hear his insights.'   

But Sen. Marco Rubio, R--Fla., who doesn't sit on the HELP committee, but would have had to vote for the nominee in the full Senate, thought what Puzder did was best.

'Andy Puzder made the right & honorable choice by withdrawing from consideration as Labor Secretary,' Rubio tweeted.  

Sanders didn't bring up the video, but joyfully greeted the news.  

'I am glad Mr. Puzder will withdraw his name from consideration to be the next labor secretary,' Sanders said in a statement. 'The simple truth is that given his relationship with employees at the companies he runs, he was not fit to lead a department responsible for defending workers' rights.' 

'We need a secretary of labor who is going to fight to raise the minimum wage to a living wage of $15 an hour and pay equity for women,' Sanders continued. 'We don't need a labor secretary who makes millions while his workers are paid starvation wages.'   

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