President Donald Trump announced in a hastily arranged news event Thursday afternoon that he's selected Alexander Acosta to run the Department of Labor following Carl's Jr. CEO Andrew Puzder's withdrawal from consideration Wednesday.
“He’s going to be, I think he’ll be a tremendous secretary of labor,“ Trump said in the East Room of the White House after announcing Acosta's appointment, adding that ”he has had a tremendous career."
Acosta was not present for the announcement.
Acosta is the dean of the Florida International University College of Law, a position he's held since 2009. His bio on the school's website notes that he has been confirmed by the Senate for three presidential appointments: as a member of the National Labor Relations Board, as the first Hispanic Assistant Attorney General, and as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
The bio further boasts:
While Dean Acosta served as U.S. Attorney, the Southern District prosecuted a number of high-profile defendants, including Jack Abramoff for fraud, Jose Padilla for terrorism, Charles 'Chuckie' Taylor Jr. for torture, (the first torture case of its kind in the U.S.), and the Cali Cartel founders Miguel and Gilberto Rodriquez-Orejuela for the importation of 200,000 kilos of cocaine, which resulted in a $2.1 billion forfeiture.
When the president finished naming his original slate of Cabinet picks last month, critics complained that there wasn't a single Hispanic American among them. Should Acosta be confirmed by the Senate, his appointment would remedy that complaint.
His selection should please conservatives, too, given that he clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito when he served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Acosta has both a bachelor's degree and a law degree from Harvard, and is a Miami, Florida, native.