Continetti: Acosta’s Survival as Labor Secretary Depends on How Trump Grades His Presser

The media reaction to Acosta's statements will matter greatly

Washington Free Beacon editor in chief Matthew Continetti said Wednesday that Alex Acosta's survival as secretary of labor will depend on Trump's judgment of his television performance.

Acosta was addressing the plea deal he gave Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 for sexual offenses involving underage girls—a deal that has come under scrutiny as more has come out about Epstein's behavior and new sex trafficking charges have been filed. During his appearance on Fox News Channel's Special Report, Continetti said Trump's reaction to Acosta's press conference and the ensuing media coverage would determine whether Acosta remains atop the Labor Department.

"I think first this was the most memorable press conference to come from the Labor Department in probably decades," Continetti said. "The decision depends ultimately on President Trump, but President Trump makes his decisions often informed by media coverage."

"When I watched the press conference I saw Acosta the lawyer making his case, but I'm not sure how well he presented that case in television terms, in terms of the passion or in terms of a dramatic event like maybe an apology or something like that. So I'd be very interested in how President Trump responds to a lot of the imagery on cable TV showing Acosta and Epstein in that two-shot, the stills," Continetti said. "That's not a good look for this administration."

Acosta held the press conference to address the plea deal he gave Epstein in 2008 for sex-trafficking underage girls. Federal prosecutors in New York recently brought up similar charges against Epstein, and several Democrats have called on Acosta to be fired or resign.

"We did what we did because wanted to see Epstein go to jail. He needed to go to jail," Acosta said, adding, "There was value to getting a guilty plea and having him register. The world needed to be on notice that he was a sexual predator."