St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Is violence against women disqualifying in the age of Trump?

Old reports have resurfaced that Andrew Puzder, Trump’s pick to head the Department of Labor, abused his first wife in the 1980s. The former St. Louis attorney, who is now the head of a fast-food empire that includes Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., has long denied the charge, but police were called at least twice to the couple’s home. The Riverfront Times reports:

In her divorce filing, [Lisa] Henning alleged that Puzder hit her, threw her to the floor and unplugged the phone after she tried to call the police for her help. Puzder would later acknowledge in a deposition that he “grabbed her by the shoulders and pushed her back,” but said he did it to stop her from hurting herself.

The divorce filing also detailed two other incidents: One in the late ‘70s in which the neighbors called the police after a shouting match turned into a plate-throwing fight, and one in which Lisa Henning alleged that Puzder punched her in 1985 while they were driving in a car.

Henning has since retracted the claim. In an email to Puzder dated November 30 and disseminated by Trump’s transition team, Henning declares, “You were not abusive.” She also writes, “I impulsively filed for a divorce without your knowledge and was counseled then to file an allegation of abuse. I regretted and still regret that decision and I withdrew those allegations over thirty years ago.”

It would appear that the Trump team has its bases covered. And there are plenty of reasons to oppose Puzder’s nomination beyond his domestic affairs, most notably his outright hostility toward policies that would improve the lives of workers. But one of the (many, many) depressing aspects of Trump’s election victory was that it showed that a lot of voters simply didn’t care that a candidate for the highest office in the country was facing nearly two dozen allegations of harassment and assault against women, most of whom decidedly refused to retract their allegations. Why wouldn’t Trump think he could get away with putting like-minded men in his cabinet?