WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Donald Trump has named law school dean R. Alexander Acosta as his new choice for secretary of labor.
The announcement comes the day after Trump’s original pick, Andrew Puzder, withdrew after it became clear he lacked enough Republican votes for Senate confirmation.
Acosta has served on the National Labor Relations Board and as a federal prosecutor in Florida. Former President George W. Bush named him assistant attorney general for civil rights.
Puzder withdrew on the eve of his confirmation hearing because Republicans balked at an array of personal and professional issues. Puzder said he had employed — and belatedly paid taxes on — a housekeeper not authorized to work in the United States. At least half a dozen GOP members had made it clear to the White House that they couldn’t vote for him.
“He’s been successful in making money but he has put profits ahead of people and his actions are disqualifiers for this position,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) said.
Puzder had been set to be grilled on Capitol Hill on Thursday, over his nomination to be Labor Secretary, but a source said ‘he’s tired of the abuse,’ and has dropped out.
Trump also mounted a vigorous defense of his presidency and accused America’s news media of being “out of control” at the White House news conference Thursday, vowing to bypass the media and take his message “straight to the people.”
“This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine,” Trump declared. The president announced that he would announce a “new and very comprehensive order to protect our people.”
Meanwhile, the Trump administration asked the founder of a New York-based private equity firm to lead a review of the intelligence community as the president vowed to crack down on what he describes as “illegal leaks” of classified information.
A senior White House official said Thursday that Stephen Feinberg of Cerberus Capital Management has been asked to head the review of the various intelligence agencies and make recommendations on improvements to efficiency and coordination between the various intelligence agencies.
The official was not authorized to discuss private personnel matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. The official said that Feinberg’s role is not official until he completes an ethics review.
The president has vowed to crack down on leaks and add new oversight over intelligence. His moves have not been well received and look to many like retaliation against intelligence officials who are investigating his campaign aides’ ties to Russia.
Trump on Tuesday tweeted, “The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by “intelligence” like candy. Very un-American!”
On Thursday, he accused Democrats of planting “fake news” stories on Russia in retaliation for their loss in the general election.
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