(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)

President Trump’s choice to head the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has withdrawn from consideration.

In a letter to the president, George Nesterczuk said, “The prospect of my favorable confirmation has grown remote. Recent partisan attacks threaten to delay further the consideration of my nomination. … While the allegations against me are baseless and false, in the current climate when even non-controversial nominees endure extensive delays in the Senate, I do not wish to be a distraction for the Administration while I defend my integrity.”

Nesterczuk, whose letter was earlier reported by GovExec, a news service for the federal workforce, had been sharply criticized by unions representing government employees. A July 26 letter from 16 labor organizations said Nesterczuk’s previous record as a Republican-appointed OPM official “has been a failure, while his overall stated views toward the federal workforce are dramatically opposite to the mission and task of OPM.”

The unions were particularly troubled by his involvement in the Defense Department’s National Security Personnel System (NSPS), which was repealed by Congress in 2009. The unions’ letter said the NSPS “turned out to be a discriminatory personnel system created out of extreme ideological disdain for the due process worker protections and merit system principals that define our modern day civil service.”

During a brief Washington Post interview last month, Nesterczuk described the unions’ allegations against him as “fiction … made up stuff.”

The White House did not comment on his withdrawal.

Matt Biggs, legislative and political director of the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers and organizer of the unions’ letter, said Nesterczuk’s withdrawal, “given his anti-federal employee positions over many years, is a good thing for federal workers. … Like all agencies, OPM needs a qualified and competent leader who would have the respect and confidence of our nation’s federal workers. We are hopeful that the next nominee will fit that bill.”

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