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President Donald Trump stands with Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who announced his resignation, while talking to the media at the White House on July 12, 2019

President Donald Trump stands with Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who announced his resignation, while talking to the media at the White House on July 12, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Acosta has been under fire for his role in the Jeffrey Epstein plea deal over a decade ago when he was a U.S. Attorney in Florida. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

UltraViolet Says Acosta Departure Shows 'Need to Hold All the Powerful People,' Like Trump, Accountable

Resignation of labor department secretary "should only be the beginning"

Andrea Germanos

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta's resignation announcement on Friday sparked demands from progressive groups for Congress to "hold abusers and their enablers"—including President Donald Trump—"accountable."

Acosta faced calls for his ouster over his role in securing a sweat deal for multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein over a decade ago when Epstein faced possible federal child sex trafficking charges. Those demands were amplified this month after Epstein was arrested. He faces federal charges of sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy.

While Acosta this week defended the deal, progressive groups did not let up in their criticism. They projected messages onto the Department of Labor building including "Acosta endangers women and girls," and "Acosta enables child sex trafficking."

Shaunna Thomas, executive director and co-founder of UltraViolet, one of the groups involved in the projection, said Friday, "Acosta's resignation is good news, and demonstrates that people who enable sexual predators like Jeffrey Epstein can be held accountable."

Still, she said, "It is especially outrageous that Acosta remained in his job for as long as he did."

Acosta's departure, continued Thomas, "should only be the beginning: we need to hold all the powerful people that engage in or enable sexual abuse accountable."

That includes Trump.

Trump was chummy with Epstein in the past, and the president has been publicly accused by over 20 women of sexual assault.

Epstein has been accused of not only abusing the underage girls himself but also of pimping them out to other wealthy and powerful men. Trump

Given that background, UltraViolet's Thomas said, "Congress should open a full investigation into President Trump, who was directly implicated as an enabler of Epstein, and is self-confessed serial sexual predator with nearly two dozen accusations against him. It is long past time that Congress do its job and hold abusers and their enablers accountable."

Journalist Jessica Mason Pieklo, on Twitter, echoed the call.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) also shed no tears over Acosta's departure.

"It is the job of the Labor Department to enforce laws that protect all workers," the union said in a statement. "The facts that have emerged about Alex Acosta's role in reducing Jeffrey Epstein's sentence for his vile crimes have made it clear that he thinks there is one set of rules for the rich and powerful, and another set for everyone else."

"This double standard has no role in the Labor Department or any other part of our government," said CWA, "and we welcome his resignation."


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