By Jonnelle Marte
WASHINGTON - A day after the dramatic defeat for one of his cabinet nominees, President Donald Trump named former U.S. attorney Alexander Acosta as his next pick for labor secretary, according to a White House official.
Acosta, the dean of the law school at Florida International University, served as an assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division under President George W. Bush and is a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. He also previously served on the National Labor Relations Board.
Acosta is Trump’s first Hispanic nominee to his Cabinet.
Trump’s announcement came on a day when senators were supposed to be grilling his first choice for the job, fast-food chief executive Andrew Puzder. While the executive faced staunch opposition from Democrats and labor groups who were concerned about his opposition to wage and labor regulations, it was his support of immigration reform and the revelation that he once hired an undocumented immigrant in his home that ultimately did him in.
Puzder withdrew his nomination Wednesday amidst wavering support from Republicans and intense scrutiny of his personal life, including a rancorous divorce from more than 25 years ago that included domestic violence allegations, which his ex-wife later retracted. In the hours before Puzder announced his withdrawal, a dozen Republican senators “at a minimum” said they were withholding support for his nomination, according to a senior Republican who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid political retributions.