On behalf of working stiffs everywhere, I’d like to thank Oprah Winfrey for saving us from having Andrew Puzder as our secretary of labor for the next four years.
President Trump’s nominee withdrew his nomination Wednesday, one day before his senate confirmation hearing, after word leaked that Oprah had a tape of his ex-wife Lisa Fierstein claiming he had abused her.
Actually, it was more than the word that got leaked: Oprah gave a tape of the March 1990 Oprah Winfrey Show episode to the senate. And Politico obtained a copy of the same episode from another woman who had appeared on the show. Once Politico posted that sucker—well, that was pretty much it for the nomination of Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which operates Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.
The Democratic senators on the labor committee let it be known they had every intention of airing the tape at the confirmation hearing and then grilling Puzder like he was a burger on a Carl’s Jr. grill.
It was bad enough that Trump had nominated a labor secretary who had vehemently opposed raising the minimum wage, once joked about hiring “no more people behind the counter unless they have all their teeth,” and ran commercials for Carl’s Jr. that featured scantily clad women chomping down on big juicy hamburgers like they were—well, you can figure that out.
Also, it turned out he’d hired a housekeeper who was undocumented. Let’s pause to reflect on the irony therein for a president’s who apparently views immigrants as a scourge.
“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 U.S.,” Puzder said in a statement. “When I learned of her status, we immediately ended her employment and offered her assistance in getting legal status.”
In defense of Puzder, he’s not the only Trump nominee who got into hot water for hiring an undocumented immigrant. Wilbur Ross—nominated by Trump to run the Commerce Department—admitted last month that he had employed an undocumented housekeeper for several years.
It raises the question: if Trump really shuts down illegal immigration, who will clean his cabinet appointees’ houses?
As I was saying, these blemishes made it hard enough for Republican senators to vote for Puzder as they did—like lemmings following their leader off a cliff—with Betsy DeVos, Jeff Sessions, and other sterling Trump nominees.
But in this case, Trump wanted them to vote for a man whose ex-wife, appearing on a segment called “High Class Battered Women,” told Oprah her husband had abused her and said: “I will see you in the gutter.”
That may be too much—even for a Republican.
Let’s look on the bright side. It was just a few months ago that a tape emerged in which Trump himself was heard bragging to TV host Billy Bush about grabbing women “by the pussy.” Yet America still elected him president.
Apparently, standards are rising, if Puzder had to withdraw for allegedly abusing his wife. Of course, we have a ways to go before our politicians meet the standards of NBC, which released Billy Bush from his position on the Today show after the tape came out.
Here’s hoping that Oprah can find a few other tapes in her archive.
Like one that shows what actually happened in the presidential suite of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow a few years ago. Did Trump really get a golden shower from a bunch of Russian prostitutes?
Also, how about a tape of Trump filling out his tax forms? So we can see once and for all how much he actually paid—or didn’t pay, as the case may be.
Or a tape of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s conversation with the Russian ambassador—the one that forced him to resign.
Or one of attorney general Sessions at a Klan rally.
Just kidding about that last tape. No one’s accused Sessions of belonging to the KKK. It’s just that he once said that he thought the Klan was “OK, until I found out they smoked pot.”
You know, the faster we get this bunch out of the White House, the better off we’ll all be.