Alex Acosta will not weather the storm over the Jeffrey Epstein plea deal he orchestrated 11 years ago. President Trump said Friday that Acosta has resigned as labor secretary, reports CNN. Trump addressed reporters with Acosta at his side, notes USA Today. “I thought the right thing was to step aside,” said Acosta. Trump praised him as a “great labor secretary, not a good one," per the Washington Post. The president maintained that this was Acosta's decision—"this was him, not me"—saying that Acosta phoned him Friday morning because he didn't want the controversy to be a distraction for the White House, per the Hill.
Back in 2008, Acosta was a federal attorney who allowed Epstein to escape federal punishment on charges that he molested scores of underage girls; Epstein instead pleaded guilty to state charges. Earlier this week, Acosta again defended the deal as the best one possible at the time. Acosta's deputy, Patrick Pizzella, will become the acting labor secretary. (Meanwhile, more Epstein accusers are coming forward.)