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Donald Trump's Labour secretary pick Andrew Puzder withdraws nomination


Donald Trump with Andrew Puzder, the former nominee for secretary of labour (AP)

Donald Trump with Andrew Puzder, the former nominee for secretary of labour (AP)

Donald Trump with Andrew Puzder, the former nominee for secretary of labour (AP)

President Donald Trump's nominee for labour secretary abruptly withdrew his nomination on Wednesday after Senate Republicans baulked at supporting him, in part over taxes he belatedly paid on a former housekeeper not authorised to work in the United States.

Fast food executive Andrew Puzder said in a statement he was "honoured to have been considered by President Donald Trump to lead the Department of Labour and put America's workers and businesses back on a path to sustainable prosperity".

The withdrawal by Mr Puzder, the chief executive of CKE Restaurants Inc, came on the eve of his long-delayed confirmation hearing.

Many Republicans had said they were troubled by his acknowledgement he had not paid taxes on the housekeeper until after Mr Trump nominated him to the Cabinet post on December 9 - five years after he had fired the worker.

One senator, speaking on condition of anonymity, said six senators had asked the White House to call off Mr Puzder's scheduled Thursday hearing because they could not see themselves voting for him.

That would have put the nomination in jeopardy, since Senate Republicans have only a 52-48 majority and Democrats are solidly opposed.

Mr Puzder also faced other Democrat-led attacks over his business record and remarks about women and workers at his company, which owns Hardee's and Carl's Jr.

Mr Puzder's spokesman said the nominee had paid the taxes as soon as he found out he owed them.

But the discrepancy remained a growing political problem for Republicans who have taken a hard line on immigration and taxes.

"I want to hear what he has to say about that," said Senator Marco Rubio who added he had moved from endorsing the nominee to joining the ranks of Republican senators who were not committing to vote for Mr Puzder before the scheduled hearing.

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"There are concerns" over "the immigration issue", said Senator John Hoeven who said he shared those concerns and said the Republicans discussed the matter in their caucus meeting on Wednesday.


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