Trump Announces Labor Secretary Pick

Posted: Jul 19, 2019 7:30 AM
Trump Announces Labor Secretary Pick

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

President Trump announced Thursday evening that he is nominating Eugene Scalia, the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to be the new Secretary of Labor. 

“I am pleased to announce that it is my intention to nominate Gene Scalia as the new Secretary of Labor. Gene has led a life of great success in the legal and labor field and is highly respected not only as a lawyer, but as a lawyer with great experience working with labor and everyone else,” he tweeted. “He will be a great member of an Administration that has done more in the first 2 ½ years than perhaps any Administration in history!”

Mr. Scalia served as solicitor of the Labor Department during the administration of President George W. Bush, a position he was given via a recess appointment because the Democratic-controlled Senate was moving slowly to confirm him. Then-Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle (D., S.D.) accused Mr. Scalia of having a “record of hostility toward worker protections.”

Mr. Scalia is well-regarded within the conservative legal community.

“Mr. Scalia is extremely qualified to be Secretary of Labor,” said Michael Lotito, a co-chairman for employer-advocacy group the Littler Workplace Policy Institute. “Working with Mr. Pizzella, they are uniquely qualified to implement the President’s agenda for [Department of Labor] including the issuance of rules that are of great importance to the regulated community. The combination of these two leaders really makes 1 plus 1 equal 11. I hope Mr. Scalia is confirmed very quickly.”

Mr. Scalia will require confirmation by the Senate, which is already dealing with a number of Trump administration vacancies. (WSJ)

Sen. Tom Cotton, who praised the move on Twitter, suggested to senior administration officials that Scalia fill the position left open by Alexander Acosta, who stepped down last week. Acosta was facing scrutiny over his role in a plea deal for Jeffrey Epstein, the financier accused of sex crimes. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized the pick.