Puzder resigns: Acosta to take place

Puzder
image via CNN money
On February 15th, the Democrats finally scored a small victory against the Trump administration. This was the withdrawal of Andrew Puzder for his bid as secretary of labor; a bid that had garnered much controversy since the announcement. Ostensibly, the withdrawal was so he could “spend more time with his family,” but it was almost certainly because he and others in the administration felt he wouldn’t be confirmed by the Senate*.

Puzder, owner of the fast-food restaurants Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., was one of the most controversial nominees, along with Betsy DeVos and Rex Tillerson. For example, his opposition of the current, or indeed any, minimum wage practically incited riots on the left, and alienated many on the right. His opposition of rules that forced certain employees to be paid more for overtime also caused controversy, especially after it became widely known that his companies had been forced to pay 20 million dollars in lawsuits for violating these rules.

Despite the controversy surrounding his positions, he might have made it through – after all, Betsy DeVos and Rex Tillerson did, despite huge controversy surrounding them. However, the nail in his political coffin came when it came to light that he employed undocumented immigrants as maids in his house. Not only is this illegal, but it stands in contrast to much of the Republican platform, and because of this, it became impossible to get the votes needed for a confirmation. In addition, old accusations of spousal abuse hurt his image further, effectively sealing his fate.

Shortly after the withdrawal (during the same press conference where Trump thrice asserted he was not “ranting and raving”) the administration announced their new pick – Alexander Acosta, sitting Dean of Florida International University College of Law, and former Assistant Attorney General for Civil rights. So far, Acosta’s nomination has drawn far less criticism, and it looks like he should be confirmed with support from both sides.

*Puzder did later acknowledge that both accusations of spousal abuse and his employment of undocumented immigrants played a role in his withdrawal.

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