Donald Trump’s Labor Department Pick Accused of Domestic Abuse During 1989 Divorce

Andrew Puzder, Donald Trump's pick for secretary of labor, was accused of domestic abuse during his 1989 divorce proceedings.

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President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of labor, Andrew Puzder, was accused of domestic abuse by his now ex-wife prior to their 1989 divorce, though she later walked back the accusations, reported the Riverfront Times. Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon, now Trump’s Chief Strategist, was also charged with domestic violence in the mid ’90s by his then-wife.

Puzder, the head of fast food chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardees, was accused of abuse by his wife Lisa Henning during the couple’s 1989 divorce. Police were reportedly called twice to the couple’s home. "There was no physical abuse at any point in time," Puzder told the Riverfront Times after the publication released a cover story about the allegations. He called Henning’s accusations “baseless” and denied any abuse in a divorce deposition.  

Henning described the alleged abusive incidents in the divorce filing. On one occasion, Henning said Puzder hit her, threw her to the ground, and stopped her from calling the police afterward by disconnecting the phone. In the divorce deposition, Puzder said that although he did grab “[Henning] by the shoulders and pushed her back," it was because she was in danger of hurting herself.

Two other alleged incidents were even more violent, with a fight in the late ’70s escalating into a plate-throwing match. Henning also alleged Puzder punched her in 1985 during a car ride, which Puzder denied.

Puzder’s spokesperson sent the Riverfront Times an email from Puzder’s ex-wife to Puzder in which she took back the domestic abuse allegations. The Nov. 30 email sees Henning say Puzder was not abusive.

Henning’s email read:

“You know how deeply I regret many of the rash decisions I made at that time and I sincerely hope that none of those decisions will become an issue for you at this time. 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. You were not abusive.

I will most definitely confirm to anyone who may ask that in no way was there abuse. We had a heated argument. We both said things to one another that we regret to this day. I have always been grateful that we have been able to forgive one another for the hurt we caused caused each other.”

Later in the email she mentions again how Puzder was not abusive or violent or else the two wouldn’t have the “loving and respectful relationship” they have today.

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