Pelosi on Acosta: 'Thank god he's gone'

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi scoffs at comparison between Trump and Churchill: 'I think they're hallucinating' Republicans stand by Esper after public break with Trump Pelosi joins protests against George Floyd's death outside Capitol MORE (D-Calif.) made clear Friday that she won't miss Alex 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

“Thank god he's gone,” she told a group of reporters in the Capitol.

Acosta, President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests MORE's Labor secretary, announced Friday that he'll step down on July 19 amid an intensifying controversy over his role in a 2008 criminal case involving New York financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was arrested Monday on sex-crimes charges involving underaged girls. 

Acosta, as a U.S. prosecutor in Miami more than a decade ago, had worked to secure a plea deal that kept Epstein, then facing similar charges, out of federal prison.

On Thursday, Acosta staged a televised press conference to defend his conduct surrounding the episode, arguing that the federal case was a “roll of the dice” and he therefore pursued the lesser state charges to ensure a guilty plea and some jail time for Epstein.

“I wanted to help them,” Acosta said of the victims. 

Appearing with Acosta on the South Lawn of the White House Friday morning, Trump lauded his Labor secretary and lamented his departure.

“This was him, not me, because I’m with him,” Trump told reporters. “I hate to see this happen.”

Pelosi voiced a different verdict, saying Acosta's “sweetheart deal” for Epstein should have disqualified him from the Labor secretary spot to begin with since the evidence of Epstein's guilt was “very clear at the time.”

“We have a secretary of Labor whose department oversees the sex-trafficking issue, where we have him do a sweetheart deal for a sex offender engaged in such sex trafficking, especially of children, young girls,” Pelosi said. “He should never have been appointed; he should never have been confirmed; and he should have resigned.

“I guess we'll have another acting secretary.” 

Updated at 8:04 p.m.