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 TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE and Alex AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaThe 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 Sanders calls Eugene Scalia's Labor Dept. confirmation 'obscene' 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 PriceIsakson talks up bipartisanship in Senate farewell speech Hundreds apply to fill Isakson's Senate seat in Georgia Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Warren faces tough choices on 'Medicare for All' funding | Dems demand answers on Tom Price's charter flights | Medicaid expansion nears 2020 ballot in Oklahoma 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 ZinkeOvernight Energy: House Science Committee hits EPA with subpoenas | California sues EPA over Trump revoking emissions waiver | Interior disbands board that floated privatization at national parks Interior disbands advisory board that floated privatization at national parks Overnight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics MORE, Interior; and Acosta. Five others either clashed with Trump or walked away: Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonReport: Trump UK ambassador fired deputy for mentioning Obama in speech Overnight Defense: Ex-Navy secretary slams Trump in new op-ed | Impeachment tests Pompeo's ties with Trump | Mexican president rules out US 'intervention' against cartels Pompeo-Trump relationship tested by impeachment inquiry MORE, State; Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe shifting impeachment positions of Jonathan Turley Rosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe MORE, attorney general; James MattisJames Norman MattisThreatening foreign states with sanctions can backfire Overnight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Amazon to challenge Pentagon's 'war cloud' decision in federal court 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: Rate of new endangered species listings falls | EPA approves use of 'cyanide bombs' to protect livestock | Watchdog says EPA didn't conduct required analyses EPA didn't conduct required analyses of truck engine rule: internal watchdog Is Big Oil feeling the heat? MORE, national security adviser Michael Flynn, or head economist Gary CohnGary David CohnGary Cohn says he's 'concerned' no one is left in White House to stand up to Trump Trump says US will hit China with new round of tariffs next month Gary Cohn bemoans 'dramatic impact' of Trump tariffs 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 ShanahanDefense chief calls on European allies to be wary of China's investments, blasts Russia Pentagon chief approves 20 more miles of border wall Why Dave Norquist is the perfect choice for DOD's deputy secretary 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 HicksJustice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe Former White House official won't testify, lawyer says Trump: 'Top shows' on Fox News, cable are 'Fair (or great)' to me MORE, Robert Porter, Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusFounder of veterans group says Trump Jr. can join the military if he 'really wants to understand what sacrifice is all about' Mulvaney faces uncertain future after public gaffes Politicon announces lineup including Comey, Hannity, Priebus MORE, Sean SpicerSean Michael Spicer'A Warning' replaces Donald Trump Jr.'s 'Triggered' as No.1 book on NYT bestseller list Sarah Sanders defends Trump: He reads 'more than anybody I know' The Hill's Morning Report - Witness transcripts plow ground for public impeachment testimony MORE, Omarosa Manigault NewmanOmarosa Onee Manigault NewmanAuthor of anonymous 'resistance' NYT op-ed to publish book Juan Williams: Black Republicans call out Trump — finally — on race Michael Cohen denies Omarosa advising him in prison MORE, Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciWill Republicans continue to engage in willful blindness? Scaramucci: Trump sees Bloomberg as threat Scaramucci: Trump will be gone by March 2020 MORE, Don McGahn, Ty Cobb and Sarah HuckabeeSarah Elizabeth SandersBill Press: Mulvaney proves need for daily briefings White House correspondent April Ryan to moderate fundraising event for Buttigieg White House press secretary defends lack of daily briefings: Trump 'is the most accessible president in history' 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.”