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 TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE and 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 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 PriceRep. Banks launches bid for RSC chairman Doctors push Trump to quickly reopen country in letter organized by conservatives Coronavirus in Congress: Lawmakers who have tested positive MORE, Health and Human Services; David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinSchumer demands answers in use of unproven coronavirus drug on veterans Former Trump VA secretary says staffer found plans to replace him in department copier VA under pressure to ease medical marijuana rules MORE, Veterans Affairs; Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog | Ag secretary orders environmental rollbacks for Forest Service | Senate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog Overnight Energy: Trump officials may pursue offshore drilling after election, report says | Energy regulators to delay projects pending appeals | EPA union calls for 'moratorium' on reopening plans MORE, Interior; and Acosta. Five others either clashed with Trump or walked away: Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonHow the US could respond to Russia's support of the Taliban Trump insulted UK's May, called Germany's Merkel 'stupid' in calls: report McEnany: Trump likes to hire people with 'countervailing viewpoints' MORE, State; Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDoug Jones cuts pro-mask campaign ad: 'Our health depends on each other' The Hill's Morning Report - Republicans shift, urge people to wear masks Push to oust Manhattan attorney sparks fresh crisis for DOJ MORE, attorney general; James MattisJames Norman MattisTrump insulted UK's May, called Germany's Merkel 'stupid' in calls: report Mattis urges people to wear masks in PSA about 'nasty little virus' Dozens of GOP ex-national security officials to form group to back Biden: report 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 Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 | Commerce Department led 'flawed process' on Sharpiegate, watchdog finds | EPA to end policy suspending pollution monitoring by end of summer Watchdog: EPA hasn't provided 'sufficient justification' for decision not to recover Pruitt travel spending OVERNIGHT ENERGY: DOJ whistleblower says California emissions probe was 'abuse of authority' | EPA won't defend policy blocking grantees from serving on boards | Minnesota sues Exxon, others over climate change MORE, national security adviser Michael Flynn, or head economist Gary CohnGary David CohnFormer national economic council director: I agree with 50 percent of House Democrats' HEROES Act Sunday shows preview: Congress spars over next round of coronavirus relief; GOP seeks offensive after news of Flynn 'unmasking' The Memo: Speculation grows about Fauci's future 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 HicksCuomo turned down Trump invitation to participate in April press briefing: report Trump shakes up White House communications team Meadows joins White House facing reelection challenges 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 SpicerBolton denies saying he will back Biden over Trump in November Trump campaign touts 4M online viewers for Tulsa rally Trump mocked for low attendance at rally MORE, Omarosa Manigault NewmanOmarosa Onee Manigault NewmanPelosi makes fans as Democrat who gets under Trump's skin The Memo: Impeachment's scars cut deep with Trump, say those who know him Author of anonymous 'resistance' NYT op-ed to publish book MORE, Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciRepublican operatives pushing GOP turnout for Biden with new super PAC President sinks amid stumbles over protests Sunday shows preview: Protests against George Floyd's death, police brutality rock the nation for a second week MORE, Don McGahn, Ty Cobb and Sarah HuckabeeSarah Elizabeth SandersMcEnany stamps her brand on White House press operation Sanders mocks NY Times urging DNC to investigate Biden allegations: 'I thought it was an Onion headline' Donald Trump: The Boomer TV president 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.”