Trump nominates Alexander Acosta as labor secretary
Washington, Feb 17 (IANS) US President Donald Trump nominated a former member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for the labor secretary post, an announcement that comes a day after his previous nominee withdrew his name from consideration amid controversy.
If confirmed by the Senate, Alexander Acosta, a son of Cuban immigrants, would be the first Hispanic in the president’s Cabinet, Efe news reported on Thursday.
The 48-year-old Acosta was not present for Trump’s announcement at the White House, but the president said he had spoken with him and that he would be an outstanding labor secretary.
Trump also noted that the Senate on Thursday confirmed Mick Mulvaney as the White House’s new director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Born in Miami, Acosta earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard College and a law degree from Harvard Law School.
Trump’s nominee also was a member of the NLRB, worked as assistant attorney general for the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division during George W. Bush’s presidency and recently was dean of the Florida International University College of Law.
On Wednesday, Andrew Puzder withdrew his name from consideration for the post of labor secretary after both Democratic and Republican lawmakers criticized him over personal and professional issues.
The 66-year-old Puzder’s confirmation hearing before the Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions had been scheduled for Thursday.
But he removed himself from consideration after coming under heavy criticism from labor unions for his alleged mistreatment of low-wage workers during his more than 16-year tenure as chief executive of CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., owner of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s hamburger chains.
Spousal abuse allegations dating back to the 1980s (which Puzder’s ex-wife, Lisa Fierstein, says now that she regrets making) also raised concerns about whether the Senate would confirm Puzder’s nomination.
He also faced criticism for having hired an undocumented domestic employee.