In his former role as U.S. Attorney for the District of Miami Alexander Acosta was one of the senior DOJ officials involved in the Jeffrey Epstein case. Mr. Acosta has explained his role and justified all the actions of his office over a decade ago. However, the media and political opponents to the administration are using Acosta to attack the Trump cabinet.
Today President Trump and Labor Secretary Acosta announce the decision to depart from the administration. President Trump doesn’t want Acosta to resign, but understands he is doing so in order to stop any further distractions to the administration and labor dept.
[Transcript] THE PRESIDENT: I think he was a great Labor Secretary, not a good Labor Secretary. He’s done a fantastic job. He’s a friend of everybody in the administration. And I got a call this morning, early, from Alex. And I think he did a very good job yesterday. Under a lot of pressure, he did a fantastic job and he explained it. He made a deal that people were happy with, and then, 12 years later, they’re not happy with it. You’ll have to figure all of that out.
But the fact is, he has been a fantastic Secretary of Labor. And Alex called me this morning and he wanted to see me. And I actually said, “Well, we have the press right out here, so perhaps you just want to say it to the press.”
But I just want to let you know, this was him, not me, because I’m with him. He was a — he’s a tremendous talent. He’s a Hispanic man. He went to Harvard. A great student. And, in so many ways, I just hate what he’s saying now because we’re going to miss him.
But, please, Alex.
SECRETARY ACOSTA: Thank you, Mr. President. Over the last week, I’ve seen a lot of coverage of the Department of Labor, and what I have not seen is the incredible job creation that we’ve seen in this economy — more than 5 million jobs. I haven’t seen that workplace injuries are down, bucking a three-year trend; workplace fatalities are down, bucking a three-year trend; that we had the safest year ever in mining, the lowest number of fatalities ever in mining.
I have seen coverage of this case that is over 12 years old, that had input and vetting at multiple levels of the Department of Justice. And as I look forward, I do not think it is right and fair for this administration’s Labor Department to have Epstein as the focus, rather than the incredible economy that we have today.
And so I called the President this morning. I told him that I thought the right thing was to step aside. You know, Cabinet positions are temporary trusts. It would selfish for me to stay in this position and continue talking about a case that’s 12 years old, rather than about the amazing economy we have right now.
And so I submitted my resignation to the President –effective seven days from today, effective one week from today — earlier this morning.
Q If the Secretary explained himself, as you say he did two days ago, why the need for him to resign?
THE PRESIDENT: There’s no need at all, as far as I’m concerned. I would have — I watched Alex yesterday. I thought Alex did a great job. And, you know, you could always second guess people, and you could say it should have been tougher. They do it with me all the time. I make a great deal with anybody, and then they say — like, the Democrats — “Oh, it could have been better.”
I got $1.2 billion settlement fined from a company, from ZTE. And the next day — and everybody couldn’t believe it. The next day, the Democrats said, “Oh, he should have gotten more.” So you can always be second guessed. That’s what people do.
I just want to tell you: This is a person that I’ve gotten to know. There hasn’t been an ounce of controversy at the Department of Labor until this came up. And he’s doing this not for himself; he’s doing this for the administration.
And, Alex, I think you’ll agree. I said, “You don’t have to do this.” He doesn’t have to do this.
Q Why would you — why would you accept his resignation?
Q But you accepted the resignation. You accepted the — why did you accept the resignation if he hasn’t done anything wrong?
THE PRESIDENT: I do, and we have — we have — as everybody knows, we have Pat Pizzella, who right now is a deputy, and he’ll be Acting for a period of time. I think you know Pat. He’s a good man, highly recommended by Alex. But Pat is going to be Acting, and we’ve already informed him.
[Transcript of Acosta Portion End]