UPDATED 8:57 AM PT – Friday, July 12, 2019
President Trump announced Labor Secretary Alex Acosta will be stepping down, following the heat he received this week over the decades old Jeffrey Epstein plea deal.
Acosta joined the president as he spoke to reporters outside the White House Friday. President Trump offered praise for the embattled official, and said the Labor Department’s number two official — Patrick Pizzella — will take over as acting secretary.
Acosta also blasted the media over its coverage connecting Epstein to the Labor Department before saying he would step aside for the greater good of the administration.
“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 and I told him that I thought the right thing was to step aside,” he stated. “You know, cabinet positions are temporary trusts — it would be 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.”
This comes after Acosta defended his 2008 non-prosecution agreement with Epstein lawyers when he was a U.S. attorney in Southern Florida. The agreement kept alleged sex-trafficking victims in the dark about the so-called “sweetheart deal.”
….Alex was a great Secretary of Labor and his service is truly appreciated. He will be replaced on an acting basis by Pat Pizzella, the current Deputy Secretary.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2019