Sanders calls Eugene Scalia's Labor Dept. confirmation 'obscene'

Sanders calls Eugene Scalia's Labor Dept. confirmation 'obscene'
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersProgressives raise alarm over letting lobbying groups access PPP funds Loeffler runs ad tying Doug Collins to Pelosi, Sanders, Biden Hillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel MORE (I-Vt.) blasted Eugene ScaliaEugene ScaliaAFL-CIO sues OSHA to demand standard for worker protections Trump ordering halt to pension investments in Chinese equities OSHA inspectors conducting hundreds of coronavirus-related workplace investigations: report MORE on Thursday after he was confirmed by the Senate to lead the Department of Labor, calling his nomination "obscene."

Sanders noted in a tweet that Scalia, the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, previously worked in legal and lobbying roles on behalf of major companies such as Facebook and investment bank Goldman Sachs before he was tapped to join the Trump administration.

"As a corporate lawyer and lobbyist, Eugene Scalia made millions working for Chevron, Goldman Sachs, Facebook and other huge corporations, helping them undermine health and safety regulations," Sanders tweeted. 

"So naturally he's Trump's pick to lead the Labor Department. Obscene," he added. 

The Senate voted earlier Thursday to confirm Scalia to replace former Labor Secretary Alexander AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaAppeals court finds prosecutors' secret plea agreement with Epstein didn't break law Florida sheriff ends work release program criticized over Jeffery Epstein The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by National Association of Manufacturers — Whistleblower complaint roils Washington MORE, who left the department amid questions over his role in a 2008 plea deal for disgraced financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

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The vote was 53-44 and along party lines, with Sanders among three senators who did not vote Thursday, the others being fellow Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPress: Susan Rice would be ready to step in as POTUS Pentagon charts its own course on COVID-19, risking Trump's ire Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden MORE (D-Mass.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerStakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Booker introduces bill to create 'DemocracyCorps' for elections MORE (D-N.J.).

Sanders was on the campaign trail during the vote. A spokesperson noted his vote against Scalia would not have changed the outcome of the nominee's confirmation in the GOP-led Senate. The aide noted that Sanders previously voted by proxy against Scalia in committee.

During a confirmation hearing last week, Democrats raised questions about Scalia's positions on LGBT and disability rights. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved Scalia for Labor chief earlier this week, sending his nomination to the full Senate.

A Labor Department spokesperson said the department could not comment on Sanders's tweet Thursday.