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Trump Picks Alexander Acosta to Lead Labor Department

The president named his new nominee at an afternoon press conference at the White House following Andrew Puzder's recent withdrawal.

by Lauren Messman
Feb 16 2017, 5:30pm

Photo by AP photo/Alan Diaz

At his press conference Thursday, Donald Trump announced that he has picked Alexander Acosta to lead the Labor Department after Andrew Puzder's last-minute withdrawal on Wednesday, NBC reports.

Before he was the dean of Florida International University Law School, Acosta served under former president George W. Bush as an assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and also served on the National Labor Relations Board. He would become the first Hispanic member of Trump's Cabinet, should he be confirmed.

Confirmation doesn't look like as much of a hurdle for Acosta, as it was for Puzder, who faced multiple scandals up until he withdrew his nomination on Wednesday. However, Acosta could face scrutiny for the plea deal he cut with billionaire investor Jeffrey Epstein back when he was a US attorney in Florida's Southern District. In 2008, his prosecutors agreed not to file federal charges against Epstein, who had been accused of having sex with underage girls, if the man pleaded guilty to state solicitation charges, Politico reports.

"He's had a tremendous career," Trump said at his press conference Thursday. "I think he'll be a tremendous secretary of labor."

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