Feb. 6 (UPI) — President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of labor admitted Monday he and his wife employed an undocumented worker in the past — a revelation that has ended several previous nominations to the same position.
Fast food executive Andrew Puzder, who has not yet undergone a hearing in the Senate for his nomination, said Monday he was not aware of the woman’s immigration status and dispatched her quickly when he found out.
While previous nominees to the same position by President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush both withdrew their nominations after it was found they had employed undocumented immigrants, but some have suggested Puzder will not be forced into that decision.
Rumors have also swirled that Puzder has been thinking about withdrawing his nomination based continuous delays in his hearing and relentless scrutiny from Democrats over Puzder’s history as CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.
“My wife and I employed a housekeeper for a few years, during which I was unaware that she was not legally permitted to work in the US,” Puzder said in a statement. “When I learned of her status, we immediately ended her employment and offered her assistance in getting legal status. We have fully paid back taxes to the IRS and the state of California and submitted all required paperwork.”
Some in the administration say the ethical standards that sunk Clinton and Bush nominees for the same transgression won’t apply, even as criticism of labor practices at CKE’s restaurants has been heavily scrutinized, among other business practices some in the Senate say make Puzder unfit for the job.
White House and GOP officials said Monday that despite delays while the federal ethics office reviews Puzder’s financial holdings, and rumors that he has chafed at the paperwork and scrutiny involved with his nomination, they do not expect him to withdraw.
“Andy Puzder has no intention of withdrawing. He’s looking forward to a successful hearing and being the next secretary of labor,” said Lindsay Walters, deputy press secretary for the White House.
Puzder’s hearing had been scheduled for Tuesday but was postponed and has not yet been rescheduled.