It was clear that Donald Trump’s Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta was in real trouble yesterday when he tried to use Twitter to generically explain away his role in protecting child molester Jeffrey Epstein, and the result was a torrent of negative comments. Today, Acosta tried again, this time speaking in person. Suffice it to say that it went even worse for him.
Acosta attempted today to shift the blame for Epstein’s sweetheart plea deal to the other prosecutors involved. But that’s not at all consistent with what the Miami Herald, which has spent months exposing Acosta’s secret plea deal with Epstein, has unearthed along the way. For that matter, Acosta’s claims are absurd on their face. He’s claiming that the Palm Beach state attorney’s office was prepared to let Epstein walk entirely. Whether this is true or not, that would only have been on state charges. Acosta was entirely in charge of the federal investigation, and the lenient plea deal on federal charges.
Acosta also tried to push the notion that at the time of Epstein’s plea deal, society didn’t view these kinds of crimes as having been as bad as they’re viewed today. This isn’t just insulting to the victims (and to women everywhere), it’s also factually untrue. While the MeToo movement has changed how society views things like workplace sexual harassment, society has long viewed adult men having sex with underage girls as one of its most repulsive crimes.
Alex Acosta will only get to keep his job if he can win enough of the public over, so that the media leaves him out of the Epstein narrative going forward. If anything, he probably made things even worse for himself today. He might have done well to accept some responsibility and express regret. But he can’t do that, because he also has to worry about being criminally charged in this matter himself.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report