Fast food CEO Andy Puzder has faced a rough few weeks since Donald Trump nominated him to become Secretary of Labor, with activist groups engaging in a blitz of criticism over his history of opposition to raising the federal minimum wage.
In response, Puzder is following a time-honored technique: One by one, he's blocking his enemies on Twitter.
The Hardees and Carl's Jr. CEO has blocked the Twitter accounts of at least five labor advocacy groups. This week, he even blocked one of the country's most prominent union leaders, Mary Kay Henry of the 2-million member Service Employees International Union.
“Yes, the Twitter news is true. A sentence I can't believe I'm writing,” an SEIU spokesperson told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday evening. The union is the second-largest in the country, and has been the main backer of the Fight For $15 movement to raise wages in the fast food industry.
As a veteran fast food leader opposed to wage hikes, Puzder's beef with Henry and the SEIU seems clear. But he's handing out the blocks more liberally than that. The cabinet nominee has also blocked the National Employment Law Project, the Economic Policy Institute, MoveOn.org, the Fight for $15, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights — all organizations that advocate on behalf of workers, especially low-wage workers and workers of color.
These groups have been critical of his nomination, tweeting at him and about him, and perhaps earning their block along the way. The Economic Policy Institute told BuzzFeed News it was blocked after this tweet:
MoveOn.org said it was blocked after this tweet:
The National Employment Law Project first noticed its block on Tuesday. The group has been engaged in “legitimate policy discussions,” said Judith Conti, its Federal Advocacy Coordinator. “We’re not name-calling. There are no ad hominem attacks. This is a man we don’t think is temperamentally or philosophically suited to be the nations’ chief advocate for working people.
“He can’t even handle a Twitter feed that has things in it that are legitimately and respectfully critical,” Conti told BuzzFeed News. “When faced with legitimate critiques, what does he do? He tries to shut it out and shut it down.”
Puzder may have learned the art of the block, but he's no Donald Trump when it comes to Twitter: he has a little over 5,000 followers, and has tweeted just over 1,400 times since 2008. His last tweet, on Monday, was a minimalist seven-word response to a CNN report that said he may withdraw his nomination due to the intense criticism he is facing.
The Trump transition team did not respond to a request for comment. Puzder's confirmation hearing for his position has been rescheduled for February 2.