Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on President Donald Trump to withdraw the nomination of Andrew Puzder, to head the Labor Department, citing his record as a business executive and his position on labor issues.
“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,” the New York Democrat said Thursday at a news conference, referencing Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which runs Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.
Schumer said Puzder’s record contradicts campaign promises Trump made to the working class.
“You could not have picked a worse nominee to uphold these goals than Andew Puzder,” he said. “Everything in his career is antithetical to the goals of the Department of Labor.”
A spokesman for Puzder described the news conference as “fake news” in statement to CNN.
“The fact is, Andy is exactly what America’s workers and businesses need: a proven job creator,” the spokesman said. ” He’s from a working class family—the first Puzder to earn a college degree—and he knows that success is achieved through hard work. And to address his qualifications for the job, Andy Puzder understands how the right policies can spur economic growth and bring more opportunity for all Americans.”
Puzder’s confirmation hearing, which has been rescheduled multiple times, is currently slated for February 16 with the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Sen. Patty Murray, ranking member on that committee, said at the news conference, that if Puzder does not withdraw he should expect Democrats and workers “to scrutinize his record clearly and speak out loudly about what we see concerns us to make sure that this nomination process is as thorough and rigorous as possible.”
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders echoed those sentiments Thursday highlighting the wealth gap between Puzder and the people who work for his company.
“We don’t need a labor secretary who makes $10 million a year, while his workers are paid starvation wages and live in homeless shelters,” he tweeted.
Still, it’s unclear how much Democrats can stall or derail Puzder’s nomination, since Republicans have control of the chamber and only need a majority to confirm his nomination.
When asked about their chances for stopping the nomination, Schumer said the Democratic opposition is about showing the American people who these candidates are.
“When we started this, we knew that we depended on Republicans who would be under huge pressure to beat back any of these nominees. And we hope we will beat back some of them. We hope Puzder will be withdrawn. But whether we do or not, we think we have done a real service to America. We have shown these who these Cabinet nominees are. “
CNN’s Dan Merica and Eugene Scott contributed to this report.