Facing mounting criticism and GOP opposition, Andrew Puzder, President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Labor Department, has withdrawn from consideration.
Puzder’s personal blog, which touted his labor-employment record, and his goals, was taken down Wednesday afternoon and replaced with this statement:
“After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I am withdrawing my nomination for secretary of Labor. 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. I want thank President Trump for his nomination. I also thank my family and my many supporters — employees, businesses, friends and people who have voiced their praise and hopeful optimism for the policies and new thinking I would have brought to America as secretary of Labor. While I won’t be serving in the administration, I fully support the President and his highly qualified team.”
A source told CBS News Wednesday, a day before Puzder’s nomination hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, that Puzder was expected to withdraw because he’s ”very tired of the abuse.”
A day before his nomination hearing, top Senate Republicans had urged the White House to withdraw Puzder as its pick for Labor secretary, a senior GOP source told CNN on Wednesday.
CNN said that the GOP source said there are four firm Republican no votes and possibly up to 12.
Puzder needed at least 50 votes to pass with the tiebreaking vote of Vice President Mike Pence, and Republicans only hold 52 seats.
“No matter how you cut it, there is no worse pick for Labor secretary than Andrew Puzder, and I’m encouraged my Republican colleagues are starting to agree,” said Senate Miniority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in a Wednesday statement after hearing the reports of growing GOP concerns. “He does not belong anywhere near the Labor Department, let alone at the head of it. Puzder’s disdain for the American worker, the very people he would be responsible for protecting, is second to none. President Trump should immediately withdraw this nomination and nominate a champion of worker’s rights.”
Four Senate Republicans said Tuesday that they would withhold their support for Puzder — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Johnny Isakson of Georgia — until after the Thursday confirmation hearing.
Former Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, who’s now running for chair of the Democratic National Committee, called Puzder “unfit” to serve as the next Labor secretary in an interview on CNN.
“He’s unfit for the office,” Perez told CNN. “The Labor Department is about protecting workers; it’s about lifting their wages,” noting that Puzder is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Labor’s overtime pay rule.
A Texas federal judge issued a preliminary injunction in late November barring the department from implementing and enforcing its proposed new overtime rules, which were scheduled to become effective Dec. 1. The dispute is pending now in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
— Check out DOL Will Need Time to Deliver on Trump’s Order on ThinkAdvisor.