Trump Says Labor Secretary Acosta Resigning Amid Epstein Case

Leah Millis/Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta has resigned, believing that he has become a distraction to the administration because of his handling of the sex abuse case against financier Jeffrey Epstein a decade ago.

Acosta joined Trump on the White House lawn as the president announced the resignation, which he said was Acosta’s idea.

“Alex called me this morning and wanted to see me,” President Trump told reporters as he was leaving the White House on a trip to Wisconsin. “I just want to let you know this is him, not me.”

While Trump praised him as a “great, great” labor secretary, Acosta said it would be “selfish” for him to stay in the job.

“As I look forward, I do not think it is right and fair for this administration’s Labor Department to have Epstein as a focus rather than the incredible economy we have today,” Acosta said.

He said his resignation would be effective in seven days.

Trump named Deputy Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella as the acting secretary of Labor.

Acosta has served in Trump’s Cabinet since April 2017 and from 2005 through 2009 was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. It was there that he handled Epstein’s first case involving sex with girls, which resulted in a punishment that critics say was far too lenient.

Epstein, a billionaire hedge fund manager, pleaded not guilty to new federal charges in New York this week. Epstein had a social circle that over the years has included Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had called on Tuesday for Acosta to resign.

DEFENDING HIS CASE

Acosta had responded to the criticism on Tuesday with tweets saying Epstein’s crimes were “horrific” and that he was glad prosecutors were moving forward based on new evidence and testimony that could “more fully bring him to justice.”

On Wednesday Acosta held a news conference to defend his handling of the deal, which allowed Epstein to plead guilty to a state charge and not face federal prosecution. Acosta said Epstein would have had an even lighter sentence if not for the deal.

Acosta would not say if he would make the same decision regarding Epstein now, considering the power of the #MeToo movement that led to the downfall of several powerful men publicly accused of sex crimes by women.

U.S. prosecutors in New York on Monday accused Epstein, 66, of sex trafficking, luring dozens of girls, some as young as 14, to his luxury homes and coercing them into sex acts.

Trump on Tuesday called Acosta an “excellent” labor secretary while saying that many people were involved in decisions on Epstein’s case and that the matter was being reviewed.

The federal prosecutors in New York said they were not bound by the deal arranged by Acosta, which allowed Epstein to plead to a lesser offense and serve 13 months in jail with leave during the day while registering as a sex offender.

In February, a federal judge in West Palm Beach, Florida, ruled that the 2007 agreement violated the victims’ rights. Epstein’s case and Acosta’s role in the plea deal had come under scrutiny earlier this year after an investigation by the Miami Herald.

The Epstein case came up Acosta’s Senate confirmation hearing but the Republican-majority Senate approved him in a 60-38 vote.

He is the latest top Trump administration official to depart under a cloud. The heads of the Interior, Justice, State and Health departments have also either been fired or resigned, among other top staff during Trump tenure so far.

Acosta, the son of Cuban refugees and the first Hispanic member of Trump’s Cabinet, previously served on the National Labor Relations Board and in the U.S. Department of Justice under Republican President George W. Bush.

(Reporting by Nandiat Bose; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Otis
Member

Acosta is taking the path of least resistance and perhaps that is his best option. The Epstein stench will have a lot of staying power as this mess continues to fester and be investigated. Money really cannot buy everything.

General Confusion
Member

“Care to reconsider your terminology?” I Ching

Nope, and I don’t accept yours, either.

I ain’t THAT confused.

Screwtape
Member

To the Genital,

You are confused.

If Trump were King/dictator/Hitler as your simpleminded ilk like to spout YOU and yours would be laboring on the border to build a wall/plant mines. Your monies (however insignificant) would be confiscated to pay for it.

Your carcass would be rendered for nutrients to feed other laborers.

Care to reconsider your terminology? You really don’t know a thing and are too stupid to understand how wrong your posts are.

Screwtape
Member

Acosta should not have resigned as plenty of other prosecutors have f’d up. I’m looking at you Robert Mueller. q.v. the OJ trial. Acosta was handed a sh*t sandwich case by the local FL state attorney, Krischer, who also happened to be a Dim activist who killed the case. It wouldn’t do to convict a top fundraiser. So Krischer took the case before a jury, where Epstein’s lawyers got him off with ONE charge of solicitation, not the multiple counts of sex with minors, molestation, etc. At this point the local chief of police called in the FBI, which brought… Read more »

General Confusion
Member

Bub-bye!

Queen had something to say to our confused King.

YouTube: rY0WxgSXdEE

Screwtape
Member

full disclosure: I misread the date of Epstein’s FL charges. They happened during the Bush era, not the Obozo reign. My other contentions, that he was using his connections and blackmail to escape the charges, still stand, especially since he is now being investigated for blackmail.

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