Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Tim Scott (S.C.) and Johnny Isakson (Ga.) are still reportedly unsure whether they’ll back Andrew Puzder for the job. Collins told reporters Monday she is “going to wait until the issues that have arisen are fully explored” at Puzder’s Thursday confirmation hearing.
Those issues include accusations of domestic violence from Puzder’s ex-wife, Lisa Fierstein, who once appeared in disguise on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to talk about her experience, according to Politico. The Washington Post reports Fierstein recently retracted the allegations.
Puzder’s nomination has also been riddled with controversy thanks to his past work as the chief executive of CKE Restaurant Holdings, which owns the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. burger chains. Under Puzder’s watch, the company broke worker safety laws, repeatedly stiffed workers and faced an immigration audit that led to the firing of about 1,200 undocumented immigrants. Puzder also once employed an undocumented immigrant as household help.
Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), have called on Trump to withdraw Puzder’s name from consideration for labor secretary.
“They ought to withdraw Mr. Puzder before he further embarrasses this administration and further exposes the hypocrisy of President Trump, who says one thing to the American worker and does another,” Schumer said last week.
Because no Democrats or independents have pledged to vote for Puzder, Republicans need at least 50 of the 52 Republicans in the Senate to vote in support of Trump’s pick. If two GOP senators are swayed to support Puzder after his confirmation hearing this week, Puzder could be confirmed with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence, as happened with the confirmation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos earlier this month.