Trump’s controversial pick for Labor Secretary could turn out to be his first failed Cabinet nominee. As many as 12 Senate Republicans could vote against fast-food CEO Andy Puzder (who oversees CKE Restaurants, which owns the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s burger franchises) in Thursday’s confirmation hearing, CNN reports.
A GOP source tells CNN that “there are four firm Republican no votes,” and potentially up to eight more. Cabinet nominees require at least 51 votes to pass (though in the case of a 50-50 deadlock, as demonstrated in the case of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Vice President Mike Pence could step in and cast the 51st tie-breaking vote), and Republicans currently control 52 out of 100 seats. “Top Senate Republicans” are now reportedly urging the White House to withdraw Puzder’s name from consideration.
Democrats have been vehemently opposed to Puzder’s nomination, and for good reason: Puzder has spoken out against worker benefits such as paid sick leave and the Affordable Care Act, and said he’s against raising the federal minimum wage above $9. Meanwhile, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. franchisees are currently embroiled in numerous lawsuits alleging labor and wage violations.
Puzder’s nomination has also been mired by multiple scandals: It was revealed last week that he once employed an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper, which certainly doesn’t look good considering the Trump administration’s anti-immigration push. Puzder is also accused of abusing his ex-wife, something she went on Oprah back in 1990 to discuss — and Oprah turned over tape of said segment to the Senate earlier this week.
Puzder is expected to face some tough questioning at Thursday’s hearing, provided he doesn’t withdraw his candidacy before then — particularly from Senator Elizabeth Warren, who published a letter earlier this week voicing grave concerns about his company’s “record of prolific labor law abuses and discrimination suits,” among other things.
• Top Senate Republicans Urge White House to Withdraw Puzder Nomination [CNN]
• Former Hardee’s Employee Paints a Grim Picture of ‘Puzder’s America’ [E]
• Trump’s Labor Secretary Pick Could Be Disastrous for Workers [E]