Just a day before his confirmation hearing, CKE Restaurants and subsidiaries Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s CEO Andy Puzder has withdrawn his nomination for secretary of labor.
Puzder, a former Santa Barbara resident who was ideologically in step with President Donald Trump, was rapidly losing support from the left as well as the right.
And after facing extremely close votes for other cabinet positions and the resignation of a key aide, the Trump administration was clearly cutting its losses.
In recent days, television tape emerged of Puzder’s ex-wife speaking about spousal abuse on the Oprah Winfrey show during her divorce. Although she recanted what she said on tape and in divorce proceedings, the incident raised anew the Trump campaign’s issue about the treatment of women.
Puzder had a strong resume as a competent CEO with plenty of experience in labor matters. But conservatives blanched at Puzder’s comments about the positive role of immigrants in his company and the fact that he had hired an undocumented domestic worker.
In the end, it appears that after a vicious and costly fight to nominate another wealthy donor, Betsy DeVos, as education secretary, there were not enough votes to elect another cabinet member who promised to shake up the fundamental role of his or her department.
Puzder had expressed frustration with minimum wage laws and other workplace rules; his company had paid large fines to settle California labor violations. He is moving CKE from its Carpinteria headquarters to Nashville, in part because of a more favorable business environment in Tennessee.
By withdrawing he clears the way for a new nominee and sets aside a portion of the blowback from the resignation of National Security Director Michel Flynn earlier this week.