As feared, Donald Trump’s pick to run the Labor Department is looking like Andy Puzder, also known as the guy who runs Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. Rumors started flying last week that the agency could be entrusted to the person who takes personal credit for making Paris Hilton eat a Spicy BBQ Six Dollar Burger in high heels, but anonymously sourced reports published this morning by the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and others bring the firmest word yet, saying Trump “is expected to name” Puzder to the spot.
The restaurant industry itself might cheer this move (Puzder even sits on the International Franchise Association’s board), but he’s anti-labor enough to be described as Fight for $15’s worst nightmare. Fittingly, he also hates Obamacare, which he’s blamed repeatedly for causing the current “restaurant recession.” Besides his nonexistent government experience, critics mostly point to his opposition to raising worker wages and extending overtime pay, but Puzder’s aversion to low-skilled workers actually goes deeper: He’s probably the fast-food industry’s most vocal supporter of outsourcing jobs to … robots. He argues they’re a vast improvement on their human rivals because “they’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”
The Times guesses maybe Trump is after a Mini Me, and is “banking on the idea that [Puzder] can replicate some of his own appeal.” Puzder is also a successful businessman, after all, and he and the president-elect share lots of common ground: Their documented love for fast food, their belief that Kim Kardashian is fat, and their thing for objectifying women. “I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis,” the guy who might lead a bona-fide federal agency once explained. “I think it’s very American.”