Puzder, who’s the CEO of CKE Restaurants, met with Trump for the second time on Wednesday. CKE Restaurants is the parent company of burger chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.
During Thursday morning’s transition call, Trump aides wouldn’t confirm or deny that Puzder would be tapped for the position, but said there will “additional Cabinet information” announced later in the day.
Puzder served as an economic adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and has been a vocal opponent of President Obama’s controversial rule expanding overtime pay.
Obama’s rule, which would require overtime pay for most salaried workers who make less than $47,476 annually, is temporarily on hold due to a Texas court’s order.
In an op-ed published in May, Puzder argued that the rule adds to the “extensive regulatory maze the Obama Administration has imposed on employers.
International Franchise Association’s President and CEO Robert Cresanti applauded Trump’s expected nomination, calling Puzder “an exceptional choice” to helm the Labor Department.
Thursday Reads: Trump’s InfernoPosted: December 8, 2016
Well, the year 2016 continues to be a challenging one. I seriously can’t look at any type of media without wanting a script for a happy pill along with a huge bottle of Jamison. It’s just really like living through the Divine Comedy. We’re getting closer and closer to the lower levels as we’re approaching the first season of the Mad King of Hell.
Today’s circle is the one where the Greedy push boulders against the boulders of the Wasteful. It’s a sin against sin extravaganza. Maybe the WWE executive Linda McMahon can arrange for something compelling? I’m sure it’s more up her alley than her pending appointment to lead the SBA into oblivion.
The WSJ has a great article behind it’s awesome paywall illustrating exactly how much of a spider’s web Trump Enterprises represents with the news that it would take an army of forensic scientists and hackers to figure out all the combinations of potential conflicts the Mad King of Hell has with enemy states and other states and his portfolio. Here’s a brief description from WAPO’s Plum Line. The oligarchy of kleptocrats is nearing perfect completion. This continues to be the perfect storm for the End Days of OUR Republic.
If you want to understand why the conflicts-of-interest involving Donald Trump’s business holdings and presidency could matter enormously in the months and years to come, read this single sentence buried in today’s big Wall Street Journal piece about those holdings:
It’s not clear how much Mr. Trump’s businesses would benefit from his proposal to cut business tax rates.
The key part of that sentence is the phrase, “it’s not clear.” The Journal piece reports that Trump has employed a “web” of limited liability companies to house assets accounting for over $300 million of the revenues he reported in disclosure forms last year. The crucial revelation in the piece is that these entities are a key reason why many of the specific details of Trump’s holdings remain shrouded in “opacity.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports this morning: “Trump is considering formally turning over the operational responsibility for his real estate company to his two adult sons, but he intends to keep a stake in the business and resist calls to divest, according to several people briefed on the discussions.”
As I’ve reported, if Trump merely turns his businesses over to family members (never mind whether he keeps a stake), it will not remove the potential for conflicts or even corruption. His family could stand to benefit from his policy decisions, or alternatively, other entities could seek to curry favor with the new president through deals that benefit his businesses, and by extension, his family (or himself, if he keeps a stake). Ethics experts believe only putting his interests into a genuine blind trust, via the liquidation of his assets, would truly remove the possibility of conflicts.
But, now that this looks unlikely to happen, what needs to be emphasized is not simply that such conflicts are very real possibilities, though that’s important. It also matters greatly that our lack of knowledge of the full range and scope of his interests makes it hard to evaluate whetherthese conflicts are taking place in any given situation, and if so, what they truly mean. And that’s where the new Journal story comes in. Here is the rub of the matter:
None of the 96 LLCs examined by the Journal appear to regularly release audited financial statements. That opacity — compounded by Mr. Trump’s decision to break with decades of precedent by declining to release his tax returns — makes it impossible to gauge the full extent of potential conflicts between his business interests and presidential role.
The scope and complexity of Mr. Trump’s private business holdings is unprecedented for incoming presidents, said Norman Eisen, President Barack Obama’s former White House ethics lawyer. “We’ve never seen anything like this,” he said.
It’s not clear how much Mr. Trump’s businesses would benefit from his proposal to cut business tax rates.…
Mr. Trump’s wealth is impossible to measure with precision. His financial disclosure form isn’t externally audited and — following government rules — often uses bands, such as more than $50 million, rather than exact amounts to report assets and revenue or income. Only a handful of the hundreds of entities listed in Mr. Trump’s financial disclosure publish audited financial statements — and those figures don’t necessarily illuminate Mr. Trump’s financial situation.
Trump has called for huge tax cuts, including for top earners and businesses, and Congressional Republicans are all but certain to go forward with the same. But, as the Journal points out, we cannot know what impact these policies will have on Trump’s own businesses — or his family’s.
Trump has no intention of giving up his stake in the family kleptocracy. Hey, why should he? No one can even get him to release his taxes. It’s going to take a full on court battle to get him do do anything remotely constitutional or legal. It’s his MO.
Meanwhile, the appointments to the Cabinets continue to be Orwellian. The meetings will likely resemble those infamous scenes from the “Wolf Of Wall Street”. Trump is naming a fast food CEO to be Labor Secretary that will make you ill.
And now, if President-elect Donald Trump has his way, an enemy of the Fight for $15 movement will lead the U.S. Labor Department.
On Thursday, Trump revealed that he had nominated Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, to be Labor Secretary. CKE Restaurants is the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., two fast food companies that have been targeted by Fight for 15. Puzder himself is on record as an opponent of raising the minimum wage, and has said that he would like to try automating service more service jobs in response to wage hikes.
Then, there is further evidence that Trump has no idea what he’s doing in terms of US diplomacy. To make matters worse, his latest possible appointment as Secretary of State is so bad that he makes Rudy G look tame by comparison. Remember disgraced shill Rep. Dana Rohrabacher? He’s out there defending Russia’s Human Rights Record. Again, Trump’s new mantra for the American people is let them all rot and die while we get rich. As long as Trump et al become rich as Russian Oligarchs, we can just suffer.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who has emerged as a dark-horse pick for Donald Trump’s secretary of state, tangled with a Yahoo News host Wednesday over whether Russia is a major human rights abuser. Rohrabacher’s verdict: It’s “baloney.”
The exchange is pretty remarkable — in part because he was debating a Yahoo host who just happens to be from the former Soviet Union, but mostly because Rohrabacher seemed to dismiss long-standing and documented evidence of abuses in Russia. Rohrabacher seemed to take exception to Russia being mentioned in the same breath as China when it comes to human rights abuses.
I doubt seriously the Republic will withstand all of this. In his farewell to the Senate, outgoing Senate Majority Leader and future retiree Harry Reid believes the filibuster will soon be dead.
To hear Reid tell it, the party’s electoral collapse wasn’t a result of poor messaging or even a bad candidate. It stemmed from looser campaign finance rules, FBI Director James Comey and the influence of a few powerful individuals — namely the Koch brothers, his long-running nemeses. The outgoing Senate minority leader is unapologetic on behalf of his party, and remains resolute that Democrats don’t need to chart a new political course after their 2016 debacle.
“They have Trump, I understand that. But I don’t think the Democratic Party is in that big of trouble,” Reid said in a half-hour interview with Politico on Wednesday, one day before he’ll deliver his farewell address. “I mean, if Comey kept his mouth shut, we would have picked up a couple more Senate seats and we probably would have elected Hillary.”
And Reid not only refused to admit any misgivings about invoking the “nuclear option” for most nominations — a move that’s backfiring now by empowering Republicans — he predicted it’s just a matter of time before the filibuster is done away with altogether.
Though the filibuster is Democrats’ best weapon against Trump, Reid said it would be a “mistake” for his party to reflexively oppose whatever Trump proposes. But the outgoing minority leader also wants Democrats to stand firm for their core principles, urging lawmakers to do “everything in their power” to block “wacky” Supreme Court nominees and to not be “complicit” in supporting GOP priorities like tax cuts for the rich and repealing Obamacare.
Frankly, any Democrat should OPPOSE everything the Republicans try to do at this point. It’s our only hope.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?