Tags: Donald Trump | Andrew Puzder | Lou Barletta | labor | secretary

With Puzder Out, Eyes Back on Rep. Barletta as Labor Secretary

Image: With Puzder Out, Eyes Back on Rep. Barletta as Labor Secretary

Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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Wednesday, 15 Feb 2017 05:45 PM Current | Bio | Archive

After Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination to be secretary of labor, speculation in official Washington immediately focused on Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., as a possible replacement for the Cabinet appointment.

The name of Barletta, 61, is no surprise to those watching the Labor Department. The four-term congressman and former Hazelton, Pa., mayor was widely considered to be Trump's first choice for the labor portfolio in December. But Barletta – who reportedly wanted to be secretary of transportation instead – announced he was taking himself out of consideration for labor.

With fast-food magnate Puzder out as secretary-designate, Barletta has been the subject of fresh speculation for the post.

A construction and heating oil executive who never finished college, Barletta made international news in 2006 when, as mayor of Hazelton, he rammed through a measure denying permits to merchants who hired illegal immigrants and fining landlords for leasing to non-citizens. The measure also made English the official language of Hazelton.

Barletta became one of the first House members to endorse Trump for the Republican presidential nomination last March and campaigned vigorously for him in the Pennsylvania primary and the general election. Most recently, he endorsed the president's controversial plan to delay visas to immigrants from seven Middle Eastern countries for 90 days, pending what Trump called "extreme vetting."

Since early Tuesday morning, speculation was rampant Puzder would pull his own nomination. The CEO of the Carl Jr.'s fast-food chain had been the subject of controversy on issues ranging from his statement suggesting he preferred robots to human beings as employees, to his criticism of methods to curb illegal immigration. At least a dozen Republican senators had signaled they were "on the fence" about voting for Puzder's nomination.

Asked by Newsmax about Barletta's possible appointment, his spokeswoman Andrea Waldock told us: "The Congressman has not been approached by President Trump about the labor position."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

 

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After Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination to be secretary of labor, speculation in official Washington immediately focused on Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., as a possible replacement for the Cabinet appointment.
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Wednesday, 15 Feb 2017 05:45 PM
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