A day after mounting opposition from Republican Senators forced Andrew Pudzer to withdraw his nomination to be Secretary of Labor, President Donald Trump has named Alexander Acosta to the post.
Acosta has significant government experience, including service on the National Labor Relations Board.
Acosta is dean of the Florida International University College of Law in Miami and is Trump’s first Hispanic nominee.
Before returning to the private sector, Acosta had a decades-long public service career, serving in three presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed positions.
He was appointed to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) by former Republican President George W. Bush, who also appointed him to be assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
He was then appointed to be U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, where he went after high-profile defendants such as Jack Abramoff and UBS, resulting in the Swiss bank paying more than $750 million in fines for a tax-avoidance scheme.
After the failure of Andrew Puzder’s nomination, Acosta represents a safer and more traditional pick for the position.
In the grand scheme of things the Labor Department is not a high profile position and one few Presidents are willing to spend much political capital on. Given the current environment, it’s not entirely surprising Trump would pick someone who should be easily conformable without rocking the boat too much, if at all.
We will be following each Senator’s position on the nomination through his confirmation vote.