Though Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta made an attempt to defend his handling of a 2008 plea deal made with accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, it was not enough to save his job and he announced his resignation July 12. Though President Donald Trump claimed there was no need for him to resign, Acosta appeared to convince no-one, during the previous day’s press conference, that – as a US attorney in Florida’s Southern District – he had conducted the Epstein affair in a way that best served the financier’s alleged victims.
At a time when it seems Democrats are gunning for everyone who works in the Trump administration, the secretary’s decade-old failure to ensure that the billionaire financier paid the full price for his alleged crimes against underage girls was a gift to the president’s opponents.
Right or Wrong, Acosta Had to Go
What the president really thought about the Epstein situation remains the subject of speculation, though Trump clearly respected the job Acosta had done at the Labour Department, describing him as a “great labor secretary, not a good labor secretary.” Nevertheless, it had become clear to everyone else that every day Acosta remained on the job was a further distraction. Worse still, his continued presence would only have served to damage the president.
Standing on the South Lawn of the White House with Trump at his side, Acosta told the gathered reporters: “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 we have today.” The Labor Department later released the text of Acosta’s resignation, in which he said the president had “made America great again.”
“I agreed to serve so that I could implement your agenda. Your agenda, putting the American people first, must avoid any distractions. A Cabinet position is a temporary trust. I must set aside a part of me that wants to continue my service with the thousands of talented professionals at the Department of Labor.”
Considering Epstein’s reputation – he has for many years been described by some as a pedophile – and the new charges against him, it is not easy to sympathize with the Labor Secretary. A close friend of the Clintons who owned an island long referred to as “Pedophile Island,” Epstein should have been put away years ago if he is indeed guilty of the past and present charges against him. Despite Acosta’s efforts to explain legal technicalities that somehow prevented him from bringing the full weight of the justice system to bear, he had little chance of emerging from this situation unscathed and the argument can be made that did not deserve to do so.
A Distraction From the Clinton-Epstein Connection?
That said, it was not lost on the president that the plea deal reached with Epstein in 2008 was not a subject of any controversy until the latter was re-arrested at a time when Acosta just happened to be a member of the Trump administration. “[Acosta] made a deal that people were happy with,” Trump told reporters, “and then 12 years later, they’re not happy with it.”
In reality, it may well be that Acosta’s past dealings with Epstein served as a perfect distraction for Democrats and their propaganda machine also commonly known as the “mainstream media.” After all, Bill Clinton was a regular guest aboard Epstein’s private plane and the former president’s personal relationship with the man now facing such horrific charges could yet become one of the biggest stories of 2019.