WASHINGTON (CNN) — President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to be labor secretary has voiced second thoughts in recent days, because of a relentless barrage of criticism from Democrats, labor unions and other liberal groups, a business ally and GOP sources tell CNN.
Andy Puzder is the CEO of the company that owns the Hardees and Carl’s Jr. fast food chains.
“He may be bailing,” said a Republican source plugged into the Trump transition effort. “He is not into the pounding he is taking, and the paperwork.”
A Trump transition spokesperson declined to comment, but later pointed to a tweet made by Puzder after CNN’s report, which said: “I am looking forward to my hearing.”
Democrats and their allies have launched an aggressive campaign against Puzder, who opposes key Democratic workplace priorities, including the goal of a $15 federal minimum wage.
His required ethics and financial paperwork also has not yet been posted by the Office of Government Ethics, which makes the filings public after nominees for top federal positions detail how they plan to comply with federal ethics rules regarding financial holdings.
Puzder’s confirmation hearings was initially scheduled for this week. It is now on hold, and likely will not be held until next month.
It is not unusual for nominees from the private sector to be taken aback by the harsh political climate that often greets new presidential appointees.
To that end, two Republican sources did not dispute but cautioned against reading too much into word of second thoughts. One of them added that “Trump loves it and wants the fight,” and said it was his information that senior transition officials were aware of Puzder’s concerns and urging him to stay in the fight.