It’s possible that Senator Elizabeth Warren’s email to President Trump’s ex-labor secretary nominee Andy Puzder, which included a series of questions he had until February 21 to answer, was what finally caused him to withdraw from consideration.
But while answers to the Senator Elizabeth Warren email questions were pending, Andrew Puzder had an ex-wife scandal that developed which was already creating additional trouble for his confirmation as it was reported via Politico that the former fast-food executive for CKE Restaurants Inc. vowed to take revenge on his ex-wife, according to an old episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
— POLITICO (@politico) February 15, 2017
According to the report, Oprah Winfrey sent the U.S. Senate a copy of a 1990 episode of her program this week which had the ex-wife of Andrew Puzder saying that he had allegedly beat her. The update to the initial story and the initial story itself was originally published by the same media outlet starting in January and has since motivated women’s groups to mobilize against his nomination.
While the Senate reviewed the footage, Andrew Puzder’s ex-wife Lisa Fierstein had apparently rolled back her initial accusations for the labor secretary nominee and Senate Republicans showed no signs of leaning on him over it. But even with this, judging from the email by Senator Elizabeth Warren and the view of others, many senators are motivated to keep him from being confirmed and have been stalling his hearings. The one this week was scheduled to take place on Thursday.
In a way, many could see the similarities between the allegations of abuse by Andrew Puzder on his ex-wife and last week’s “misogynist” incident on the Senate floor when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “shut down” Senator Elizabeth Warren, when she was apparently reading a letter by Coretta Scott King.
On February 13, Senator Warren sent Andrew Puzder a copy of her 28-page letter, which was also posted on her government site, which expressed her concerns over voting him into a position where he would be given the responsibility to help workers he had a record of being against.
According to her email, Andrew Puzder’s company, which is based out of Carpinteria, California, and is a parent company for Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurant chains, had a record of being anti-labor.
The senator said in her email that he had made a fortune by “squeezing” workers.
“You’ve made your fortune by squeezing the very workers you’d be charged with protecting as Labor Secretary out of wages and benefits.”
Senator Warren also went on to point out that his company had a greater record of discrimination suits and labor law abuses than any other burger chain. While there is no control over how accusations or complaints a restaurant can get, Andrew Puzder had already been caught making anti-worker statements, saying that robots would be better than workers as they don’t sue, complain about labor laws or their rights, or even need a paying wage.
Elizabeth Warren referred to a report published by Newsweek in collaboration with Capital & Main which pointed to his anti-labor record.
“…since Puzder became CEO of CKE in 2000, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have been hit with more federal employment discrimination lawsuits than any other major U.S. hamburger chain.”
Andrew Puzder is one of the last of eight of President Trump’s nominees, many with questionable histories. For Puzder, it was revealed during the third week of the president’s term that he had for years employed a housekeeper who was in the U.S. illegally. It was one of the many controversies that many felt could also present a problem for Puzder’s nomination as there were other reports that he was also facing some right-wing opposition. So far, Republican Senators Susan Collins, Johnny Isakson, Lisa Murkowski, and Tim Scott were hesitant, and as of Tuesday, Senators Rob Portman and John Thune were also added to the list.
Though there was some indication that they could “cave” as Democrats battle to stop Republicans from confirming Trump’s nominees, Elizabeth Warren’s email also included the list of questions because she said that the Republican chairman for the committee holding the hearing, Lamar Alexander, would not allow Democrats more time to ask questions.
Elizabeth Warren had referred to an article by the Washington Post which reported on the Republican senator’s targeting of Democrats during a confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos.
“I’m trying to be fair. We’re not going to treat a Republican nominee differently than we are going to treat a Democratic nominee.”
Senator Alexander is also the same person who challenged the evidence from Oprah about Andrew Puzder’s ex-wife over allegations of abuse. But also along with Warren, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for Puzder to withdraw, agreeing that he is the most anti-worker choice for the position.
Judging from the fact that Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination on Wednesday, it appears that the pressure about his ex-wife and the email from Senator Elizabeth Warren were the final straw that broke the camel’s back.
[Featured Image by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]