In his first interview since withdrawing himself from consideration as Labor Secretary under President Trump, Andrew Puzder told Neil Cavuto during an interview on the Fox Business Network that he was “disappointed” he wasn’t able to serve in the president’s cabinet.
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The CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., faced scrutiny from both sides of the aisle after abuse allegations involving his ex-wife surfaced, his controversial business background raised concerns, as well as his admission to hiring an undocumented immigrant to work as a housekeeper.
Puzder claimed the allegations, later recanted, from his ex-wife “weren’t true,” but rather they have a “very amicable relationship,” and instead cites the delays in his hearing process as the real reason for why he was forced to remove himself from consideration.
“It was a delay that was very unfortunate. I think I would’ve been confirmed had the hearing gone as originally scheduled,” said Puzder. “But I didn’t want to tilt at windmills. Once you had three senators who wouldn’t support you in the Republican Party, you were done.”
Throughout the whole process, Puzder said both the president and vice president were “100 percent” behind him on whether he decided to move forward with the hearings or not.
The restaurant CEO also placed a big portion of the blame on Democrats for not wanting a “successful businessman” to run the Department of Labor, and that they would do “anything they possibly could to keep me out of that office.”
“It’s not that they’re concerned that I would’ve been a bad secretary of labor, it’s not that they’re concerned that President Trump won’t succeed -- they’re concerned we will succeed,” said Puzder. “Because if we succeed with conservative economic principles, if we cut taxes like Reagan did, if we reduce regulations like Reagan did, and we have a similar result where employment goes up, economic growth goes back 3.5 to 4 percent -- well, that really puts the lie to what the left has been telling working and middle class Americans for the past 8 years.”
Puzder also faced an uphill battle with labor unions regarding his stance on whether to increase the minimum wage, and allegedly advocated for the increase of automation – technology both McDonald’s and Wendy’s have invested in, but the CKE fast food chains have not.
“I was against increasing it to the point where it kills jobs for working class Americans,” said Puzder.
He went on to add, “I was just trying to explain to people what the risks of taking the minimum wage too high [are].”
Despite his rocky first venture into politics, Puzder said that this is just a “setback,” and that he’s “not giving up” when it comes to serving his civic duty in government.