The confirmation hearing for Andrew Puzder, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, is supposed to take place tomorrow. While we wait to see what happens, I thought it might be fun to open a comment thread so we can opine about the issues that have been raised against him. Do you think they’re legitimate? Do you think he’s a good choice for Secretary of Labor, or a bad choice? Please weigh in. I’ll get things started:
No. 1: As most people know, Mr. Puzder is CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc., which is the franchisor for Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast food restaurants. Do you think the U.S. Secretary of Labor should come from an industry that he will be regulating?
ROBIN’S TWO CENTS: Generally, this doesn’t bother me. I don’t have a problem with someone with a business background serving as Secretary of Labor. I do think that he should recuse himself from any matters related to CKE companies, though. My understanding is that the plan that was approved by the Office of Government Ethics does not say he has to recuse himself from these matters, but Mr. Puzder has indicated that he might do so voluntarily. I think he should.
No. 2: Mr. Puzder’s ex-wife, Lisa Fierstein, went on Oprah in 1990, wearing a wig and sunglasses, and said that Mr. Puzder physically abused her during their marriage. Not long afterward, they reached an agreement that included child custody provisions, and Ms. Fierstein recanted her allegations. Since Mr. Puzder’s nomination, she has submitted a letter to Congress recanting (again) and saying that she regrets having appeared on Oprah’s show. However, many Democrats (and maybe a few Republicans) believe that these allegations of spousal abuse should disqualify Mr. Puzder. Do you agree?
ROBIN’S TWO CENTS: I don’t see how this can be used to disqualify Mr. Puzder. It’s possible that Ms. Fierstein made false allegations in an attempt to get a more favorable divorce settlement. It’s also possible that she told the truth in 1990, and that she backed down to get a better settlement, retain custody of her children, or both. We will probably never know what really happened, but because she has recanted twice now – including before Congress – essentially saying that she lied on Oprah, I think we have to give Mr. Puzder the benefit of the doubt.