Oprah Winfrey 'submits tape to US Senate showing domestic violence claims against Labour secretary pick'

Politician's ex-wife reportedly appeared on an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show titled 'High Class Battered Wives'

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The Independent US

Oprah Winfrey has submitted a tape to the Senate in which the ex-wife of one of Donald Trump’s cabinet picks claims he physically beat her during an abusive relationship, it has been reported.

Andrew Puzder was selected by President Trump for the position of Labour Secretary. He is still awaiting confirmation by the Senate.

During a previously forgotten episode of the Oprah Winfrey show which aired in the 1990s, his ex-wife alleged that he had subjected her to domestic violence.

The episode was called “High-Class Battered Women” and discussed abusive relationships among the elite social groups. It is understood Mr Puzder’s ex-wife appeared with her identity obscured in the video.

Ms Winfrey has submitted the episode to senators, Politico reports. Democrat Patty Murray told the media outlet she was “deeply troubled” by the footage. She defended the decision of Senators to view it: “It was important for us to know all of the information about any candidate that comes before us.”

However, Mr Puzder’s ex-wife has reportedly retracted elements of her comments during the footage, in a letter sent to the Senate committee.

Republican politician Lamar Alexander said he still intends to vote in favour of confirming Mr Puzder to the role, telling Politico: “That happened 27 years ago. His former wife has said it was all not true. She has reiterated that in a heartfelt letter to members of the committee and has been willing to talk to members of the committee so I don’t think that’s an issue.”

President Trump’s choice of cabinet picks has been shrouded in controversy. A number of controversial nominees are still awaiting confirmation. In addition to Mr Puzder President Trump’s pick for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been subject to fierce criticism and protests, amid claims she lacks experience or interest in education policy. The billionaire philanthropist has never attended a public school or worked in one and is a strong advocate of controversial ‘voucher’ schemes. In a highly unusual move, two Republican Senators refused to support her confirmation, however the party still had enough votes to pass it despite their dissent.

Senator Jeff Sessions has also proved controversial since he was selected by President Trump to be Attorney General. Mr Sessions has been accused of racial bias against African Americans, which he has strongly denied. During confirmation hearings, protesters shouted slogans in a bid to disrupt proceedings, at times accusing him of harbouring fascist sympathies. However, Mr Sessions received sufficient backing from fellow senators for his nomination to be approved.