Trump's Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said on Twitter that he is “pleased” by new charges against accused pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
But few are happy with the former U.S. Attorney, who struck a plea deal 11 years ago that kept the billionaire from receiving a life sentence in prison, despite the serious charges leveled against him.
And though the Democratic Party’s most high-profile leaders have urged Acosta to resign, his office said Tuesday that Acosta isn’t going anywhere.
In a series of tweets published Tuesday morning, Acosta both lauded new federal charges filed against Epstein and defended his own role in a 2008 plea deal that allowed Epstein, then accused of engaging in sexual contact with at least 40 children, to serve only 13 months in jail.
“The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence,” Acosta tweeted.
He added: “With the evidence available more than a decade ago, federal prosecutors insisted that Epstein go to jail, register as a sex offender, and put the world on notice that he was a sexual predator.”
Twitter users piled on to Acosta for the tweet, with over 4,000 people commenting on the post as of 12:30 p.m. –– and only about 500 “likes.”
The president defended Acosta to the press on Tuesday, telling reporters that he feels “very badly” for Acosta. He added that Acosta was not the only lawyer involved in negotiating the plea deal.
“For two and a half years, he’s been just an excellent secretary of labor,” Trump said.
Then the U.S. Attorney in Miami, Acosta in 2008 granted Epstein a non-prosecution agreement, allowing him to serve just over one year in a Palm Beach county jail, where he was kept in a private wing and allowed to leave for work six days a week.
A federal judge ruled in February that, because Acosta’s office did not notify Epstein’s victims of the agreement, it violated federal law.
After federal prosecutors indicted Epstein this weekend, a number of Democratic lawmakers began urging Acosta to resign.
“I am calling on Secretary Acosta to resign. It is now impossible for anyone to have confidence in Secretary Acosta’s ability to lead the Department of Labor. If he refuses to resign, President Trump should fire him,” Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday morning, Politico reports. “Instead of persecuting a predator and serial sex trafficker of children, Acosta chose to let him off easy.”
Those statements came after a number of other Democratic lawmakers, like Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Ted Lieu (D-CA), along with Minnesota Senator and presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), called for Acosta to resign.
But during Acosta’s confirmation hearing in the spring of 2017, only one senator, Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine, asked him about his role in Epstein’s 2008 plea deal.
Read Epstein’s unsealed indictment here.
Cover: Alex Acosta, U.S. Secretary of Labor, waits for the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump during an event on medical pricing in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. on Thursday, May 9, 2019. (Photo: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images)