Trump’s Labor Pick Withdraws Nomination After Domestic Violence Accusations Surface

Carl’s Jr. CEO Andrew Puzder has officially withdrawn his nomination for President Donald Trump’s labor secretary after receiving little to no support for the role. The news comes after Puzder’s past came into question in the form of an interview his ex-wife had on the Oprah Winfrey Show over domestic violence accusations.

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Puzder and a senior administration official confirmed the news to CNN on Wednesday (Feb. 15). Although his confirmation hearing was scheduled for Thursday (Feb. 16), Puzder had four confirmed “no’s” from the Republicans. The businessman would have needed 50 votes to pass.

Reports of domestic violence surfaced after a report from Politico last month. Winfrey herself turned over the 27-year-old episode that featured his ex-wife Lisa Fierstein to senators on Tuesday (Feb. 14). In a segment called “High-Class Battered Women,” Fierstein claimed Puzder was physically abusive and told her, “I will see you in the gutter. This will never be over. You will pay for this.”

Fierstein later retracted her story, claiming she was using the opportunity as leverage in their divorce proceedings. Puzder and Fierstein released a joint statement about the accusations. “Perpetuating these retracted 30-year-old allegations and an impulsive decision to appear on a talk show is nothing more than a desperate attempt to tarnish Andy Puzder at the expense of Lisa and their family,” the statement reads.

Before the video came to light, democracy advocates like Karl Frisch stressed Winfrey to hand over the tapes before the now-canceled confirmation hearing. “For the good of our country and to assure an open and deliberative confirmation process, Oprah Winfrey must release this tape that only Senators have been allowed to view in private since its existence was first reported on last month,” the executive director of Allied Progress said. “If confirmed as Labor Secretary, Andy Puzder will be responsible for establishing and enforcing labor policies that will either protect or abandon hard-working men and women in every workplace. Given the explosive nature of these domestic violence allegations and the epidemic of sexual harassment and assault that his female employees have faced, it is extremely important that we have a completely transparent confirmation process where no stone is left unturned.”

When it comes to duties as labor secretary, Puzder was for the living wage, as opposed to improving the minimum wage and spoke out against the Affordable Care Act. His employees at Carl’s Jr. also reported up to 33 state and federal complaints that ranged from wage theft to sexual harassment.

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