Andrew Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, withdrew his nomination for Labor Secretary in the wake of bipartisan opposition to his candidacy. Democrats opposed Trump’s selection of Puzder to lead the Labor Department for a variety of reasons including his opposition to minimum wage, allegations of sexual harassment within the food chains and also what has been described as “sexist advertising” for restaurants, including Hardees and Carl Jr.’s.
Republicans opposed the Puzder pick for his past support of legal immigration. In fact, on February 15, the National Review published an editorial imploring Senators to oppose Puzder’s nomination on the grounds that he supports “Gang of Eight-style ‘comprehensive immigration reform.’”
Puzder’s nomination was further complicated by good old fashioned scandal. Puzder has a nannygate story in his past whereby he employed an undocumented worker in his home. And while he says he rectified the situation once he became aware of the worker’s status, this was not a good optic for a potential Secretary of Labor.
But then another shoe dropped. News of a controversial audiotape featuring his ex-wife Lisa Fierstein surfaced. Apparently, back in 1990, Ms. Fierstein appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in silhouette in an episode featuring “High Class Battered Women.” During this six-minute appearance, she accused Puzder of abusing her and threatening her.
The former Mrs. Puzder later recanted these allegations which Puzder has repeatedly denied. That being said, the recanting took place in conjunction with a child custody arrangement. Puzder’s withdrawal of his nomination may be just another case of too much baggage. And frankly at this juncture, it doesn’t really matter what bag put the boat under water.
Several names have been floated as potential Labor Secretary nominees. They include Peter Kirsanow, an attorney who previously served on the National Labor Relations Board during the George W. Bush administration. Kirsanow, who is based in Cleveland, is also a current member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
R. Alexander Acosta, who served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and as a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and also has been on the National Labor Relations Board has been suggested. Acosta was also the first Hispanic to serve as an Assistant Attorney General, a position he also held during the George W. Bush Administration.
Other potential nominees include Joseph Guzman, a Labor Relations professor at Michigan State University who served on President Trump’s National Hispanic Council, and Catherine Templeton, who served as South Carolina’s Labor Secretary under former Governor Nikki Haley.
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