President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to be labor secretary has voiced second thoughts in recent days, because of a relentless barrage of criticism from Democrats, labor unions and other liberal groups, a business ally and GOP sources tell CNN.
Andy Puzder is the CEO of the company that owns the Hardees and Carl’s Jr. fast food chains.
“He may be bailing,” said a Republican source plugged into the Trump transition effort. “He is not into the pounding he is taking, and the paperwork.”
Democrats and their allies have launched an aggressive campaign against Puzder, who opposes key Democratic workplace priorities, including the goal of a $15 federal minimum wage.
His required ethics and financial paperwork also has not yet been posted by the Office of Government Ethics, which makes the filings public after nominees for top federal positions detail how they plan to comply with federal ethics rules regarding financial holdings.
Puzder’s confirmation hearings was initially scheduled for this week. It is now on hold, and likely will not be held until next month.
A couple of points here. First, the thing about CEOs is that they are not used to being accountable to anyone. They hate the idea of transparency and they hate public pressure. This is why, traditionally, they have hired politicians to do this work for them. For whatever reason, we are in an era where CEOs want to actually hold the offices. This means that they are quite susceptible to pressure, especially as we are seeing with Secretary of State nominee John D. Rockefeller and Secretary of Education nominee Ayn Rand, their business dealings are so execrable that the exposure may force them to run from the light into Peter Thiel’s coffin.
Second, if Pudzer is delayed a month, that’s a month more of workplace protections for people. If he is forced to withdraw and we have another month before another selection and confirmation, that’s 2 months of workplace protections. I am not exactly celebrating this, but small victories.
Third, it’s not like Emperor Tangerine is going to name someone much better than Pudzer if he bails. As I have argued consistently since the election, on most issues, Trump is a bog-standard Republican. On labor policy that’s certainly true. Whether he names Scott Walker or some other CEO or some anti-labor think tank hack, they are going to be terrible. But taking on these people over and over again reinforces how unpopular Trump and his positions are. And that has great value. Even someone as vile as Pudzer is susceptible to public pressure. That’s important to remember.