The Labor Department has released the text of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s resignation letter to President Donald Trump.
Acosta announced Friday he was stepping down in the midst of controversy over how he handled the prosecution of wealthy businessman Jeffrey Epstein in 2008, when he was a federal prosecutor in South Florida.
Acosta made the announcement from the South Lawn of the White House, with Trump standing beside him.
The economy is great, Acosta said, per a White House media pool report, and “that’s what this administration needs to focus” on.
Soon after his resignation became official, the Labor Department released Acosta’s resignation letter.
“Dear Mr. President,” the letter began.
“My parents left Cuba as refugees in search of freedom to make a better life in the greatest country in the world, the United States of America. They worked hard and wanted the best opportunities for their son and grandchildren. In one generation, their dreams were more than surpassed when you offered me the honor of a lifetime to serve as a member of your Cabinet, as Secretary of Labor,” he wrote.
Acosta took note of how Trump allowed him “to move consequential work forward on behalf of the American workforce.”
“We have millions of new jobs, fewer injuries and fatalities on the job, record low unemployment, less regulation, and new family-sustaining career opportunities for the future.”
Trump is “delivering” for workers all across the country, Acosta wrote, adding that the president has “made America great again.”
Acosta expressed gratitude to Trump for his “steadfast support in our private discussions and in your public remarks.”
That being said, “I must set aside a part of me that wants to continue my service with the thousands of talented professions at the Department of Labor,” Acosta wrote.
As a result, Acosta said he would resigning, effective next Friday.
Acosta’s resignation letter pic.twitter.com/hELWXH8CIa
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) July 12, 2019
While Acosta is resigning, he said he will continue to support Trump and his agenda.
“On behalf of my family, I thank you and will always treasure this opportunity to serve my fellow citizens on this shining city upon a hill,” he concluded.
Trump, for his part, had kind words for Acosta on Friday.
“This was him, not me,” Trump said, suggesting it was Acosta’s decision to step aside, according to CNBC.
“He made a deal that people were happy with and then 12 years later, they’re not happy with it,” the president said.
Acosta oversaw a 2008 plea deal that allowed Epstein, who was accused of sexual contact with multiple underage girls, to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Epstein ended up serving just 13 months behind bars, according to CNN.
Acosta is a “great labor secretary not a good one,” Trump said, who did a “very good job.”
Trump said Acosta will be replaced, at least for the time being, by his deputy, Patrick Pizzella, who will serve as acting labor secretary.
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