Trump Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta announced his resignation on Friday amid mounting scrutiny for his role in negotiating a lenient 2008 plea deal that helped financer Jeffrey Epstein when he was U.S. attorney for southern Florida.
Acosta made the announcement to reporters while standing next to President Donald Trump outside the White House.
Trump said he “did an unbelievable job as secretary of Labor” and added it was Acosta’s decision to step down.
“This was him not me, because I’m with him,” Trump told reporters. “I hate to see this happen.”
Acosta’s resignation will take effect next Friday.
Deputy Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella will lead the department on an acting basis.
Trump said Acosta had called him Friday morning and that it was Acosta’s decision to quit.
“I did not think it was right and fair for this administration Labor department to have Epstein as the focus rather than the incredible economy,” Acosta said on Friday, adding that it would be “selfish” for him to remain in the Cabinet.
Acosta later tweeted out a copy of his resignation letter to Trump:
— Secretary Acosta (@SecretaryAcosta) July 12, 2019