Restaurateurs’ chances of having one of their own in the White House’s West Wing were dashed today Andy Puzder's decision to pull himself out of contention for the post of secretary of labor.
The CEO of CKE Restaurants was tired of drawing fire for hiring an undocumented immigrant as a nanny and being accused 26 years ago of physically abusing his wife, an unnamed source told CBS News. His confirmation hearings were scheduled to begin tomorrow.
More recent news reports allege that the White House was withdrawing support for Puzder because of the controversies surrounding his nomination.
Puzder had also been attacked by organized labor for comments suggesting that robots might be preferable to fast-food workers; that a $15 minimum wage would be unworkable; and that any federal wage requirement is fundamentally flawed.
A tally of how senators were likely to vote on Puzder’s nomination showed that his confirmation was less than a certainty, with five Republicans refusing to reveal how they were leaning. Without that support from President Trump’s own party, confirmation would have been unlikely.
The last straw seemed to be the unearthing of a 1990 episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in which Puzder’s ex-wife, Lisa Friedman, alleged that he had physically attacked her. Friedman has since repeatedly recanted her accusations.
The possibility of having a restaurant chain executive with Trump's ear had heartened the restaurant and franchise industries, which allege that organized labor had an active champion in President Obama.
“Andy Puzder always saw the bigger picture, so his decision to withdraw is just another example of his character as someone willing to put himself aside on behalf of the greater good," International Franchise Association CEO Robert Cresanti said in a statement. "His fair and measured approach to managing the Labor Department would’ve reversed the course of the job-killing regulations implemented over the last eight years, which have paralyzed small businesses."
The National Restaurant Association had also come out in favor of Puzder's appointment.
Puzder had not resigned his position at CKE, the parent of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s burger chains, but had reportedly unraveling his investments in the business.