Trump taps Florida law school dean for Labor Secretary

By Christie Zizo, Digital Media Producer
Last Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2017, 3:42 PM EST

President Trump has tapped the dean of Florida International University's law school to be the next Labor Secretary.

The White House announced R. Alexander Acosta's nomination Wednesday.

Acosta was appointed to the National Labor Relations Board by President George W. Bush in 2002. He also worked as assistant attorney general for the civil rights division of the Justice Dept. 

He was also United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida. During his tenure his office prosecuted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and terrorism suspect Jose Padilla. It also handed bank-related cases and health care fraud.

In 2013, Acosta also served as chairman of U.S. Century Bank.

“Throughout his career, Alex Acosta has been a passionate advocate for equal opportunity for all Americans,” said President Trump said in the news release issued by the White House Wednesday. “His extensive experience has tremendously impressed me and my team and makes us confident that he will lead the Department of Labor with the utmost competence and determination to support the American worker. The American worker had been forgotten and left behind."

Acosta replaces Andrew Puzder, who withdrew from his nomination as Labor Secretary Wednesday. Puzder's withdrawal came as several Republican senators indicated they would not or may not vote for Puzder's confirmation. 

The withdrawal came amid growing attacks on Puzder's record in worker relations during his time as a CEO for Hardee's and Carl's Jr., and allegations of personal misconduct.

If confirmed, Acosta would be the first Hispanic nominated for the Cabinet. The Trump administration was criticized for having the first cabinet in many years without any Hispanics.