US President Donald Trump's pick for Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder has withdrawn his nomination for the cabinet seat. Puzder had been losing support within Senate Republicans, with up to 12 Republican senators thought to be wavering on voting him in.
It only would have taken three Republican senators to scupper Puzder's nomination for good. When contacted by IBTimes UK on Monday, three said that they were undecided on how they would vote.
Puzder's nomination had come under scrutiny in recent weeks, first after revelations that he had employed an undocumented worker and more recently a tape provided to senators by the Oprah Winfrey Network that accused him of physical abuse.
Puzder's hearing had been postponed for some weeks as he had taken so long to provide the required paperwork. It had been scheduled for Thursday (16 February), with Puzder tweeting that he was "looking forward to my hearing."
But on Wednesday afternoon, he tweeted "I am withdrawing my nomination for Secretary of Labor. I'm honored to have been considered and am grateful to all who have supported me."
Democrats had come out strongly against Puzder, as they had with other contentious Trump nominees Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos. While DeVos scraped through her senate confirmation with the aid of Vice President Mike Pence casting a deciding vote; Puzder may not have had that lifeline if so many Republican senators had turned against him.
Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington state, said that Puzder was "uniquely unqualified" from the start. Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer said Puzder's withdrawal was "a victory for the American worker. Puzder should never have even been nominated."
The announcement also comes just days after Trump's national security advisor Michael Flynn resigned from his post amid a scandal that he misled colleagues over a potentially illegal phone conversation with the Russian ambassador.
Laura Barrett, Executive Director at Interfaith Worker Justice welcomed Puzder's withdrawal, saying: "This is a testament to the power of working people organising in the face of injustice. Andrew Puzder has made millions of dollars on the backs of low-wage and often undocumented working people, all while advocating for a lower minimum wage and replacing workers with robots.
"We urge the president to remember his campaign promises to working people and nominate a Labor Secretary who will be a champion for working people and is committed to the mission of the Department of Labor. If he fails to do so, working people will be ready."
In an email to IBTimes UK, Indivisible, a group that has been coordinating grassroots pressure against the Trump administration said: "Our groups on the ground should feel good about the work they put into asking their Senators to reject this dangerous nominee. That pressure was key to his withdrawal."