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Andrew Puzder withdraws from consideration as labor chief

By Doug G. Ware
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Andrew Puzder withdraws from consideration as labor chief
Fast food workers try to get drivers attention from the side of the street during a protest in St. Louis on Monday. Nearly 200 protesters asked that Hardee's CEO Andy Puzder withdraw his nomination or be rejected by the U.S. Senate during confirmation hearings for labor secretary. Puzder withdrew his candidacy Wednesday. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Fast food executive Andrew F. Puzder on Wednesday withdrew his candidacy to become President Donald Trump's labor secretary.

Puzder, the chief executive for CKE Restaurants, said in a statement that he decided not to continue with the confirmation process. His decision follows days of criticism from Democrats and Republicans.

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"After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I am withdrawing my nomination for Secretary of Labor," he said. "I am honored to have been considered by President Donald Trump to lead the Department of Labor and put America's workers and businesses back on a path to sustainable prosperity. I want thank President Trump for his nomination."

Puzder, 66, who was scheduled for a confirmation hearing Thursday, has come under fire from Democrats and Republicans over personal concerns and his leadership at CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee's and Carl's Jr.

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Earlier Wednesday, even Republican leaders were calling for Puzder to withdraw his nomination. Last week, it became known that the restaurateur once hired an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper -- a scenario that has derailed other Cabinet nominees in the past. Critics have also raised concerns about wage issues involving Puzder and CKE employees.

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"Andrew Puzder's withdrawal as Labor Secretary is a victory for the American worker," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a tweet. "Puzder should never have even been nominated."

Andrew Puzder (R), chief executive of CKE Restaurants, announced Wednesday that he would not continue his candidacy as President Donald Trump's labor secretary. His decision followed growing opposition from Republican and Democratic lawmakers. File Photo by Peter Foley/UPI/Pool

An unnamed source told CBS News earlier Wednesday that Puzder had grown "tired of the abuse" he took from Democrats.

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Puzder was far from assured confirmation in the Senate. CNN reported that at least four but as many as 12 Senate Republicans planned to vote against him.

"I developed serious concerns regarding his nomination. Over the past few days, I shared those concerns with Senate leadership," South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, one of the Republicans who had planned to vote against Puzder, said in a statement. "I look forward to meeting with a new nominee to lead the Department of Labor."

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The Senate has only narrowly approved four of the last five Cabinet nominees who were up for a vote.

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After failing to derail the nominations of Betsy DeVos (education), Jeff Sessions (attorney general), Rex Tillerson (state) and Tom Price (health), Democrats turned their opposition to Puzder last week.

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