Saturday, July 13, 2019

Dueling Narratives On Acosta's Ouster

Today's WSJ lead editorial bemoans the fact that Trump has "lost" another cabinet secretary--and doesn't even seem to care: Acosta Goes Over the Side--Trump loses another Cabinet Secretary. He doesn’t seem to mind. How will he ever find a qualified replacement?

Mr. Trump needs all the talent he can get since few people will want to join his team with only 18 months left in his term. Why take the risk if you know you’ll be sent over the side as soon as Democrats and the media decide to make you a political target?

Paul Mirengoff has a somewhat different perspective. Mirengoff, coming from a labor law perspective, has been a relentless critic of Acosta--for his handling of the Epstein case but also for his go along to get along approach to running the Department of Labor. From that perspective, he suggests that it's good riddance--Alex Acosta and the story that couldn’t be told. Mirengoff quotes a WaPo story that states point blank that Acosta's real ambition was to get a federal judgeship, and that he was pursuing a strategy of placating labor leaders and Congressional Dems to that end:

Acosta, who aspired to be a federal judge, had a strategy as secretary to play a safe, inside game running the Labor Department, according to multiple current and former administration officials. He aimed for a balance in his approach to labor policy that would satisfy the White House — while also placating union leaders and Democrats on Capitol Hill.

And so, says Mirengoff,

The left was happy with Acosta’s tenure at DOL. From its perspective, the Acosta DOL was better than what it realistically could have hoped for in a Republican administration. 
As Rein tells us in her belated story, Andy Puzder, Trump’s original pick for the job, would have been a nightmare for the left. Pat Pizzella, who eventually became Acosta’s deputy is, in Rein’s words, “a hard-liner” who “is expected to follow an agenda that closely matches the White House’s.” Imagine that.

The WSJ pretty much concedes the point:

Deputy Labor Secretary Pat Pizzella will take over as acting Secretary, and he has support in the employer community. A source tells us Mr. Pizzella has promised to expedite Labor rule-makings that were slow-rolled by career bureaucrats under Mr. Acosta.

Which is to say, Labor rule-making was slow-rolled by Acosta. Sounds like a win for Trump. An acting Secretary should who's on the same page with the President. Why should Trump mind?


  1. The first take by the WSJ--Trump has lost a cabinet secretary and doesn't care--is silly beyond a farce. Acosta's resignation is by his own hand. Trump can't possibly know the details of the NPA Acosta signed-off on. Who, in his right mind, would stand in front of the runaway truck that is a mishandled sex offender case.

    Trump's business--and now political--arrangements and relationships are all at arm's-length. He's a real estate developer--everything is transaction oriented, on a project by project, deal by deal basis. Caring about, or fighting for Acosta is throwing good money after bad. The project has soured and needs restructuring--possibly off-loading at a fire sale price to recover what remains of the asset.

    A problematic secretary of labor is the last thing Trump (or any president) needs on his plate.

  2. "Caring about, or fighting for Acosta is throwing good money after bad."

    Especially if you have a good replacement--at least an acting one--in place.