Former Montecito resident Andrew Puzder, CEO of Carl Karcher Enterprises (CKE) and the branding mastermind behind Carl’s Jr., withdrew his name from consideration as President Donald Trump’s nominee as Secretary of Labor after it became clear he lacked the Senate committee votes needed to win approval.
Puzder, an outspoken critic of recent minimum-wage increases and an ardent and accomplished anti-abortion crusader, had generated a firestorm of opposition from labor unions and women’s rights organizations. Recent revelations that he’d hired an illegal nanny while living in Santa Barbara hurt Puzder with anti-immigration advocates within the Republican Party.
His chances were further damaged when videotape of his ex-wife’s appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1990 — in which she detailed physical abuse she’d suffered — recently resurfaced. His ex-wife has repeatedly recanted those allegations, explaining to one media outlet she appeared on the Winfrey show because she was drawn by the prospect of a free airplane ticket.
Puzder is the first and only of Trump’s cabinet nominees to not win confirmation to date. He withdrew his name when it became clear he lacked support from several Republican senators as well as nearly universal opposition from Democrats. Prior to his announcement, Puzder had been forced to reschedule his nomination hearing four times. He was scheduled to testify this Thursday. Although CKE still has offices in Carpinteria, Puzder moved the company’s corporate headquarters to Tennessee about six months ago. He and his family moved as well.