U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta talks to reporters during a news conference in Miami, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008. Acosta announced eight people and eight...
Alan Diaz

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigns under a cloud of scandal

Updated

The Rachel Maddow Show, 7/10/19, 9:12 PM ET

Acosta makes himself look worse with defense of Epstein deal

Rachel Maddow shows why Labor Secretary Alex Acosta actually made himself look worse with his press conference defending the deal he made with Jeffrey Epstein. Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. attorney, joins for analysis of why the bulk of Acosta’s argument
The Jeffrey Epstein scandal raised incredibly difficult questions for Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who oversaw the case several years ago as a federal prosecutor. The cabinet secretary tried to answer those questions with a press conference on Wednesday, and it was clear that the attempt at damage control was his way of trying to save his job.

It didn’t work.

Embattled Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta is resigning, President Donald Trump said Friday.

Acosta had faced mounting criticism in recent days for his role years ago in cutting a deal for sex offender Jeffrey Epstein more than a decade ago that critics have called too lenient.

The president reportedly accepted Acosta’s resignation, not because the cabinet secretary approved a sweetheart deal for a suspected sexual predator who targeted children, but because Acosta believed he’d “become a distraction” in the wake of the Epstein controversy.

Given the circumstances, the question among Acosta’s many critics wasn’t whether he should resign, but why in the world the Labor secretary was able to remain at his post for so long.

Acosta is the latest in a series of Trump cabinet officials who’ve resigned under a cloud of scandal, and the list includes controversial figures such as former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, former HHS Secretary Tom Price, former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and former VA Secretary David Shulkin.

Those, of course, are the cabinet chiefs who’ve been forced out, and doesn’t include the ongoing scandals surrounding several other current secretaries, including HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

What’s more, let’s not forget that Acosta became Labor secretary after Donald Trump’s first choice, Andrew Puzder, was forced to withdraw following domestic-violence allegations.

The president recently boasted, “There are those that say we have one of the finest cabinets.” In reality, no one says that, and as Acosta exits the stage, no one should.

Cabinet and Labor

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigns under a cloud of scandal

Updated