US Labour Secretary nominee Andy Puzder withdraws

Washington, Feb 16 (IANS) Andy Puzder, President Donald Trump’s pick for US Labour Secretary, said on Wednesday he has withdrawn his name from consideration for the post as facing opposition from a number of Republican lawmakers, leaving shrinking chance for him to survive a Senate confirmation voting.

“After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I am withdrawing my nomination for Secretary of Labour, ” Xinhua news agency quoted the bruised fast food executive as saying in a statement provided to local media.

Puzder’s withdrawal came one day before a scheduled confirmation hearing in the Senate, where some Republicans had raised concerns about his failure to pay taxes for five years on a former housekeeper who wasn’t authorised to work in the United States, according to local reports.

The CEO of CKE Restaurants said he was “honoured to have been considered by President Donald Trump to lead the Department of Labour and put America’s workers and businesses back on a path to sustainable prosperity.”

“While I won’t be serving in the administration, I fully support the President and his highly qualified team,” said Puzder in a statement issued to the public.

“The simple truth is that given his relationship to employees that the companies he runs, he was not fit to lead a department responsible for defending workers’ rights,” said Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who ran for the Democratic nomination last year.

Claiming Puzder’s withdrawal as their victory, Democrats had accused Puzder of mistreating his workers, opposing increasing minimum wage and supporting automation in workplaces. There are also allegations that he abused his ex-wife in the 1980s.