President Donald Trump is considering at least four candidates to be his new nominee for labor secretary after his previous pick abruptly withdrew from the confirmation process.
Two administration officials told Fox News late Wednesday that potential nominees include former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) members Peter Kirsanow and Alexander Acosta, former South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Director Catherine Templeton and Joseph Guzman, an assistant professor of labor relations at Michigan State University who advised Trump during his presidential campaign.
Trump met with Acosta and Guzman Wednesday evening, sources with knowledge of the meetings told Fox News. One administration source said that more candidates could still be considered.
Earlier Wednesday, fast-food executive Andrew Puzder abandoned his confirmation effort after Senate Republicans balked at supporting him, in part over taxes he belatedly paid on a former housekeeper not authorized to work in the United States.
A senior Capitol Hill source told Fox News that “about a dozen” GOP senators had reservations about Puzder’s nomination and were not prepared to vote to confirm him. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., relayed that message to the White House.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer acknowledged late Wednesday that the administration had seen the writing on the wall, saying “We know how to count.”
Democrats and their allies welcomed Puzder’s withdrawal, saying his corporate background and opposition to such proposals as a big hike in the minimum wage made him an unfit advocate for American workers at the top of an agency charged with enforcing protections.
Fox News’ Serafin Gomez and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.