President Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of labor, CKE Restaurants CEO Andrew Puzder, has withdrawn himself from consideration after mounting controversy over his past and concerns that he would not have enough votes for confirmation. Puzder was slated to have his confirmation hearing on Feb. 16.
On Feb. 15, Puzder announced he was dropping himself from consideration to run the Department of Labor.
"I want to thank President Trump for his nomination," Puzder said in an official statement, The Huffington Post reports. He also thanked supporters "who have voiced their praise and hopeful optimism for the policies and new thinking I would have brought to America as Secretary of Labor."
Earlier on Feb. 15, a source close to Puzder disclosed he was likely to withdraw from the nomination due to the stress of defending his past. The source had given Puzder an 80 percent chance of removing himself from consideration, CBS News reports.
"I think he's very tired of the abuse," the source said.
Shortly before Puzder announced his decision, Republican Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, informed the White House that Puzder did not have enough votes to be confirmed, The Washington Post reports.
Senate Democrats were expected to be unified in their opposition against Puzder's nomination, meaning the nominee could afford no more than two defections from the current GOP 52-seat majority in the chamber to be confirmed.
At least seven Republican lawmakers had signaled they were not committed to voting for the restaurant executive. They included five members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which was scheduled to hold a confirmation hearing for Puzder on Feb. 16.
That confirmation hearing had been long-delayed. On Feb. 15, a senior GOP source disclosed that the hearing would be canceled because Puzder's withdrawal was already considered inevitable, CNN reports.
In addition to the GOP members of the HELP committee, Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and John Thune of South Dakota had also not publicly committed to supporting Puzder's nomination.
Puzder has been dogged by previous accusations of domestic assault. His former wife, Lisa Fierstein, had made the accusations in 1990 but later recanted. He had also faced questioning over having previously employed an immigrant in the country illegally as a housekeeper.