Posted: 3:51 pm Wednesday, February 15th, 2017
By Jamie Dupree
Under fire on multiple fronts, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination on Wednesday, a day before he was to go before a U.S. Senate committee for confirmation hearings.
“After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I am withdrawing my nomination for Secretary of Labor,” Puzder said in a written statement.
“While I won’t be serving in the administration, I fully support the President and his highly qualified team,” Puzder added.
Support for Puzder among Republicans had encountered problems in recent days, with GOP Senators worried by Puzder’s failure to pay taxes for a housekeeper who was an illegal immigrant, his business record as a fast food CEO and more.
BREAKING: In statement, Andrew Puzder says he's withdrawing his nomination for labor secretary.
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) February 15, 2017
For the White House, it was a Cabinet setback, after trying for the last month to keep Puzder’s nomination on track.
Democrats celebrated Puzder’s withdrawal.
“It’s long been clear Mr. Puzder was completely unfit to be Secretary of Labor,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH).
“I’m glad Puzder will withdraw,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). “Given his relationship to his employees he wasn’t fit to lead a department responsible for defending workers.”
“Good,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). “Considering his appalling record, this would be a tremendous victory for workers across the country.”
“This is a big victory for the American worker,” Matt House, the spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.
PUZDER has withdrawn as Labor nominee, per sources. Hill types tell me just too much baggage, not enough votes.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) February 15, 2017
Puzder has also seen his position erode with conservatives, as the National Review today came out against his nomination, mainly worried by his past support for comprehensive immigration reform.
Questions about Puzder had grown in recent days, as some GOP Senators waited to see what happened with the controversy surrounding the President’s choice.
“I like Andy, I know him very well, I think he’s a very good businessman,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told reporters on Tuesday.
“I certainly am interested to see and hear his explanation on the issues regarding the household employees,” Rubio added, seemingly leaving himself a way out.
Now, that GOP wiggle room won’t be needed, but President Trump will need to find a replacement.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.