The “Oprah” Tape That May Have Sunk Andrew Puzder’s Nomination

“‘I will see you in the gutter.”


 

Update, 2/15/17, 3:24 pm: The White House is expected to withdraw Puzder’s nomination as labor secretary. Politico’s story featuring the “The Oprah Winfrey” footage reportedly played a significant role in the decision.

At the request of senators reviewing the nomination of Andrew Puzder, President Donald Trump’s pick for labor secretary, Oprah Winfrey on Tuesday handed over a 1990 recording featuring Puzder’s former wife, Lisa Fierstein, in which she details allegations of spousal abuse against the embattled fast-food CEO.

The footage, which Politico obtained and released on Wednesday, shows Fierstein dressed in a disguise and using a pseudonym to conceal her identity alongside other women who experienced spousal abuse. In the episode entitled “High-Class Battered Women,” she claimed Puzder once threatened revenge after she first made the allegations public two years before “The Oprah Winfrey Show” appearance.

“‘I will see you in the gutter,” Fierstein claimed he told her. “This will never be over. You will pay for this.”

“I wound up losing everything, everything,” she continued. “I have nothing. He has a Porsche and a Mercedes-Benz. He has the home. He has everything. He was an attorney, and he knew how to play the system.”

In 1988, Fierstein filed a petition accusing Puzder of physically assaulting her on the face, chest, and back, leaving her with “severe and permanent injuries.” The couple divorced in 1987. She has since said that she regretted her decision to appear on the show.

The tape’s review comes amid sinking support for Puzder’s nomination as further questions arise about his labor practices. Employees from his fast-food empire have also come forward complaining about his vehement opposition to raising the minimum wage and protecting workers. His hearing was repeatedly delayed after he failed to properly file the ethics and financial paperwork required of all Cabinet picks.

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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