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Andrew Puzder withdraws as Trump's labor secretary nominee

16 February 2017

President Donald Trump's nominee for labor secretary abruptly withdrew his nomination Wednesday after Senate Republicans balked at supporting him, in part over taxes he belatedly paid on a former housekeeper not authorized to work in the United States.

"While we welcome the news that Andrew Puzder will not be our next Secretary of Labor, it is incumbent upon the President to nominate someone who will fully respect the laws created to protect American workers".

"While I won't be serving in the administration", he said, "I fully support the President and his highly qualified team".

Mr Puzder is the first of Mr Trump's cabinet picks to fail to secure a nomination.

Fierstein later claimed she made the remarks in an attempt to gain leverage in a prolonged custody battle between the couple.

Divorce records released Tuesday night show that Fierstein accused him of "striking her violently about the face, chest, back, shoulders and neck, without provocation or cause", according to The New York Times. He had been scheduled to appear on Thursday.

Puzder had been losing support within Senate Republicans, with up to 12 Republican senators thought to be wavering on voting him in.

When Puzder was announced as the nominee for Labor Secretary, Democrats questioned the choice as his business resume seemed to indicate he may not be right for the position. Many Republicans had said they were troubled by his acknowledgement that he had not paid taxes on the housekeeper until after Trump nominated him to the Cabinet post December 9 - five years after he had fired the worker. A spokesman for CKE Restaurants said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

Puzder also opposed wages in minimum wage, which was a rallying point for many who protested his nomination. In January, reports came out that Puzder had employed an undocumented worker in his home for years, an infraction that has cost Labor Secretary nominees in the past.

That uncertainty seemed to trickle down to Republicans, who took umbrage with his immigration stances, which ran against Donald Trump's stated objectives.

Puzder acknowledged early this month that he employed an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper until learning of the worker's immigration status. AFSCME President Lee Saunders said Puzder had "nothing but contempt for everything the Labor Department stands for".

Andrew Puzder withdraws as Trump's labor secretary nominee