Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank

Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank
© UPI Photo

Let’s start with this fact: Nobody believes what Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Overnight Health Care: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | Democrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next relief deal | Fauci says death toll could be around 60,000 Hillicon Valley: State officials push for more election funds | Coronavirus surveillance concerns ramp up pressure for privacy bill | Senators warned not to use Zoom | Agencies ask FCC to revoke China Telecom's license MORE and Alex AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaFlorida sheriff ends work release program criticized over Jeffery Epstein The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by National Association of Manufacturers — Whistleblower complaint roils Washington On The Money: Senate confirms Scalia as Labor chief | Bill with B in wall funding advanced over Democrats' objections | Lawyers reach deal to delay enforcement of NY tax return subpoena MORE told reporters about Acosta’s departure as Labor secretary. Not even Donald Trump and Alex Acosta believe it.

Isn’t it obvious? Acosta didn’t resign, he was forced out. He didn’t make the decision, Donald Trump did. He didn’t step down because he wanted to spare the administration any further embarrassment, he was told to get out of Dodge to distract reporters from paying any more attention to Donald Trump’s buddy-buddy relationship with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. He wasn’t a “great labor secretary,” he was a second-rate lawyer who should never have gotten the job in the first place.

There was no way Acosta could defend his kid-glove treatment of Epstein in 2008. There’s no doubt the wealthy socialite was guilty of luring underage girls to his Palm Beach, Fla., mansion and paying them for sex. Acosta’s argument that he had no choice but to accept a plea deal allowing Epstein to walk was emphatically rebutted by then-Palm Beach attorney Barry Krischer, who noted that Acosta’s office had actually drafted a 53-page indictment against Epstein, which Acosta ignored.

ADVERTISEMENT

But, of course, in the age of Trump, it was not Acosta’s failure to prosecute Epstein that caused the president to dump him, it was Acosta’s failure to do a better job explaining it on TV. Trump pressured him to hold a news conference, watched it from the Oval Office, didn’t like what he saw, and fired him, further proving that the entire Trump administration is nothing but a giant, daily reality TV show.

Acosta made zero impact as Labor secretary. He will not be missed. What’s significant about his departure is not the fact that he left, but the fact that he’s the latest of nine Trump Cabinet members to leave or be kicked out in 30 months. Four left in the middle of a scandal: Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceDNC chair says app used in Iowa won't be used in other primary states Hillicon Valley: Iowa chaos highlights misinformation threat | Officials blame app for delayed results | Company offers 'regret' | Nevada officials drop plans to use app | Ohio ramps up election security Company behind Iowa Democratic caucus app expresses 'regret' MORE, Health and Human Services; David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinFormer Trump VA secretary says staffer found plans to replace him in department copier VA under pressure to ease medical marijuana rules Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank MORE, Veterans Affairs; Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeThe case for transferring federal lands back to Native Americans International hunting council disbands amid litigation Europe deepens energy dependence on Russia MORE, Interior; and Acosta. Five others either clashed with Trump or walked away: Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonStumbling US diplomacy flattens Washington's influence curve Trump lashes out over Kelly criticism: 'He misses the action' Timeline: Trump and Romney's rocky relationship MORE, State; Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Guidance on masks is coming The Hill's Campaign Report: Coronavirus forces Democrats to postpone convention Roy Moore to advise Louisiana pastor arrested for allegedly defying ban on large gatherings MORE, attorney general; James MattisJames Norman MattisDebrief — America needs a 'ferociously bipartisan' coronavirus commission Mattis defends Pentagon IG removed by Trump House Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis MORE, Defense; Kirsten Nielsen, Homeland Security; and John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, Homeland Security, before becoming chief of staff. 

Note: This does not count EPA’s Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: House stimulus aims to stem airline pollution | Environmental measures become sticking point in Senate talks | Progressives propose T 'green stimulus' Court sides with scientists on EPA policy barring grantees from serving on agency boards Overnight Energy: Senate energy bill stalled amid amendment fight | Coronavirus, oil prices drive market meltdown | Green groups say Dem climate plan doesn't go far enough MORE, national security adviser Michael Flynn, or head economist Gary CohnGary David CohnEx-Trump adviser Gary Cohn says economy could be reopened on 'incremental' basis Sunday shows preview: State governors and top medical officials prepare for next week of COVID-19 response On The Money: Trump says economy 'may be' sliding into recession | Dow suffers second-worst day in history | Coronavirus package hits roadblocks | Fed unleashes arsenal amid pandemic MORE, who were technically not Cabinet members. Nor does it include former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and former acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanHouse Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis Boeing pleads for bailout under weight of coronavirus, 737 fallout Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January MORE. All in all, as tracked by the Brookings Institution, Trump has triggered more turnover in his first 2 1/2 years than any of his five predecessors did in their entire first terms.

On top of that, reports Brookings, as of July 8, the rate of turnover among “A” level, non-Cabinet but senior, White House aides is a stunning 76 percent. That list, of course, includes one-time Trump favorite Stephen Bannon as well as Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksTrump shakes up White House communications team Meadows joins White House facing reelection challenges Trump aide asked Cabinet agencies to identify anti-Trump appointees: report MORE, Robert Porter, Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusMeadows joins White House facing reelection challenges Trump names Mark Meadows as new chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's job security looks strong following impeachment MORE, Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerKayleigh McEnany to take over as White House press secretary Grisham leaves role as White House press secretary Sean Spicer to release second book in October, 'Leading America' MORE, Omarosa Manigault NewmanOmarosa Onee Manigault NewmanThe Memo: Impeachment's scars cut deep with Trump, say those who know him Author of anonymous 'resistance' NYT op-ed to publish book Juan Williams: Black Republicans call out Trump — finally — on race MORE, Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciWell-wishes pour in across media for Chris Cuomo after coronavirus diagnosis The Memo: Trump mulls the biggest gamble of his presidency The Memo: Trump's coronavirus briefings face criticism MORE, Don McGahn, Ty Cobb and Sarah HuckabeeSarah Elizabeth SandersGrisham leaves role as White House press secretary Fox News's Hume rips Alexander over 'gotcha' question to Trump NBC's Alexander: I gave Trump 'a softball' question as opportunity to 'reassure' Americans MORE Sanders.

Why the record turnover? Other than the fact that Donald Trump is clearly impossible to work for — his abusive treatment of everybody but Ivanka and Jared has been well-documented by several former staffers — Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, head of the Brookings presidential tracking project, notes that, in choosing senior staff, Trump clearly “valued loyalty over qualifications” and thus “suffered from a White House that has functioned in a chaotic manner.” Which is a nice way of saying that Donald Trump is a lousy manager and knows nothing about governing.

Every administration has its hallmark. The symbol for the Trump White House will be a revolving door.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” His Twitter handle is @BillPressPod. He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”