Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told reporters in a hallway just off the Senate floor that his friend, attorney Alexander Acosta, is an excellent choice to lead President Donald Trump’s Labor Department, shortly after the Thursday announcement.
“He is a top-notch pick,” said Rubio, who would not say if Acosta’s name came up at his private dinner with the president and First Lady Melania Trump and the senator’s wife, Jeanette Rubio. “He was a U.S. Attorney, an NRLB member–I mean I hope he is going to be one of these 100-to-nothing votes–really there is nothing, no reason to vote against him.” The NRLB is the National Labor Relations Board.
Rubio said he had known Acosta professionally and socially and that he would be visiting with Senate Democrats to convince them that there should be no fight over Acosta’s nomination.
The chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R.-Tenn.), told Breitbart News he spoke to the White House earlier in the day about Acosta before his name was released. However, Alexander made it very clear that the call was informational and did not mean in any way that he had approved or cleared the name.
The Senate has already confirmed Acosta three time, he said. Acosta’s three confirmations were for his tours as a member of the NRLB, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and for serving as the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.
Alexander, whose committee reports one-third of the cabinet nominees to the Senate floor, said, “When he gets his paperwork over here, we’ll take a look.”
More than 30 minutes after the White House said Acosta was the new nominee, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn from Texas, told Breitbart News he had not heard the news.
After Breitbart News had told Cornyn that Acosta was the pick, Cornyn said he did not know enough about Acosta to comment.
Rubio said he got to know Acosta when he was the top federal prosecutor in Miami, and the two men remained in touch through Acosta’s current post as the dean of Florida International University’s law school — the same university where Rubio is an adjunct professor lecturing undergrads.
“I have just been around him for 12 years, and he is just phenomenal — really smart, really fair, high integrity, high character, widely respected by people across the political spectrum, really good people,” he said.