WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump announced Thursday his plan to nominate Alexander Acosta to be labor secretary, telling assembled reporters on Thursday that Acosta is going to be “a tremendous secretary of labor.”
The nomination comes one day after Andy Puzder, Trump’s first pick to lead the department, withdrew his nomination.
Trump said that Acosta “has been through Senate confirmation three times, confirmed.” The comment was an apparent reference to his administration’s struggle to get all of their nominees through the Senate.
“I have wished him the best, we just spoke and he is going to be a tremendous secretary of labor,” Trump said. Acosta was not at the event with the President.
Acosta, who is currently the dean of the Florida International University School of Law, is a former member of the National Labor Relations Board, a position he was nominated to by former President George W. Bush.
If confirmed, Acosta — the son of Cuban immigrants – would be the first Hispanic member of Trump’s Cabinet.
NBC News first reported Acosta as the pick.
He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito when he sat on the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and practiced law at Kirkland & Ellis in Washington.
Puzder, Trump’s first pick to leader the Labor Department, withdrew his nomination Wednesday after Republican senators began telling the White House that they would not back the nominee.
Puzder, the CEO of the company that owns the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast food chains, faced fierce opposition mostly from Democrats in part related to his position on labor issues as well as the fact that he employed an undocumented immigrant housekeeper.
But Republicans, too, had grown weary of the range of liabilities facing Puzder, and senior GOP officials informed the White House Tuesday night and Wednesday that Puzder lacked a viable path for confirmation.
The turbulent nomination process wore on Puzder, too, with aides close to the nominee telling CNN that he was taken aback by the harshness of politics.