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Andrew Puzder Just Withdrew His Nomination as Trump's Labor Secretary

After Senate Republicans warned that he likely wouldn't get the number of votes needed to be confirmed.

by Lauren Messman
Feb 15 2017, 9:37pm

Andrew Puzder, the fast-food CEO who Trump tapped to become his labor secretary, has dropped out of the running for the Cabinet position after Republican senators warned the White House he likely wouldn't get enough votes for the confirmation, the Associated Press reports

"After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I am withdrawing my nomination for Secretary of Labor," Puzder wrote in a statement. "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."

On Wednesday, CNN reported that four Republicans had decided to vote against Puzder's nomination, but that number could have gone up to 12 should his hearing have moved forward on Thursday. Puzder would have needed at least 50 votes from Republicans to pass with a tie-breaking vote from Mike Pence, but after the scandals that had mounted against him, he began losing Republican support.

This week, senators in the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee began privately viewing an unearthed video from the 1990s in which Puzder's ex-wife accuses him of abuse, Politico reports. The Oprah Winfrey Network released the tape to the committee, in which Lisa Fierstein alleged the abuse on the Oprah Winfrey Show—before retracting the allegations as part of a child custody agreement.

While one senator said she felt "deeply troubled" by the video, it was Puzder's views on labor practices and his employment of an undocumented housekeeper that pushed his opposition over the edge. New York senator Chuck Schumer said, "Puzder's disdain for the American worker, the very people he would be responsible for protecting, is second to none."

Although Puzder's withdrawal is seen as something of an embarrassment to the Trump administration—one of many this week—having his confirmation fail on the Senate floor would have likely been seen as worse.

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