Washington, D.C. – U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigns amid questions about handling of Epstein case. Embattled Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta has announced he is resigning. Acosta made the announcement himself, accompanying the president out of the White House residence before the president’s departure for a trip to Milwaukee.
“I told [President Trump] the right thing was to step aside,” he continued. “Cabinet positions are temporary trusts. It would be selfish to stay in this position and continue talking about a case that’s 12 year old, rather than the amazing economy we have right now.”
Acosta had defended his handling of a decade-old plea deal with financier Jeffrey Epstein on sex crime charges when Acosta was the U.S. attorney in Florida’s Southern District. Acosta faced renewed scrutiny over the case after Epstein was arrested on new federal sex trafficking charges in New York last week.
President Trump said that Acosta called him Friday morning and said it was entirely Acosta’s decision.
Standing next to Acosta, Mr. Trump called him a “great labor secretary — not a good one.” He told reporters that Acosta “did a very good job…we’re gonna miss him.”
The president also defended Acosta’s handling of the 2008 plea deal Acosta’s office made with Epstein. Mr. Trump said people were initially happy with it, then changed their minds. Still, the president thought Acosta, in his press conference Wednesday, had ably defended the actions taken by federal prosecutors. The deal demanded Epstein register as a sex offender, pay restitution to the victims and serve 13 months in a county jail, though he was able to leave six days a week to work.
Acosta will leave the administration in seven days.
Now local reaction is starting to pour in:
Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Chair of the Education & Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services, released the following statement after the resignation of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.
“As a prosecutor, Alexander Acosta denied survivors justice and gave Jeffrey Epstein, who was and is accused of child sex trafficking, a deal that did not serve justice,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “We have had concerns about the case since his nomination, and his resignation is long overdue. Mr. Acosta’s actions during his tenure at the Department of Labor continued to demonstrate that he is more interested in protecting the powerful and wealthy than improving the lives of working families across the country.
“The Secretary of Labor has a responsibility to advance the best interest of workers. President Trump should nominate someone who will work to strengthen collective bargaining rights, raise stagnant wages, and help workers save for a secure retirement.”
Bonamici has criticized Acosta’s involvement in the Epstein case and joined 67 of her colleagues in calling for his resignation. She has also challenged Acosta on his failure to protect workers from wage discrimination, the proposal of a harmful tip rule, and other policy decisions.