White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, who has tried to claim she is a feminist in the past, told reporters Tuesday morning that Trump’s labor secretary Alex Acosta is doing a great job in the wake of the new Jeffrey Epstein child sex trafficking indictment.
The unsealed indictment accused Epstein of arranging for girls to perform nude “massages” and other sex acts and paying girls to recruit others. The indictment says Epstein “intentionally sought out minors and knew that many of his victims were in fact under the age of 18, including because, in some instances, minor victims expressly told him their age.”
Part of Acosta’s job is overseeing sex trafficking. He made an illegal plea deal that protected an accused sex trafficker and convicted rapist.
Acosta broke the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act when he protected accused child sex trafficker and rapist Jeffrey Epstein with a 2008 sweetheart plea deal over a reduced charge of soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14 that as prosecutor he did not disclose to the victims.
The deal Acosta made for Epstein put an end to the investigation and granted him immunity from all federal criminal charges. It also raised eyebrows by granting immunity to unnamed “potential co-conspirators.” Epstein only served 12 months in jail, during which he was allowed, six days a week, to spend 12 hours a day at an office. (Ken Starr was one of his defense lawyers, because nothing says family values like defending someone whom 40 women have accused of sexual assault.)
When asked about the calls for Acosta to resign, several Senate Republicans “brushed off” the criticism according to The Hill.
Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) ‘ditched’ reporters, fleeing into the Senate kitchens when pressed on Republican support for the accused child sex trafficker, with reporters asking if Acosta should resign.
Grassley dismissed giving a child sexual predator a sweetheart deal that put him back on the streets to harm more children as “I don’t know how big of a deal it is.”
“This was up about three months ago, and then all of the sudden it died down, so I don’t know how big of a deal it is.”
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) was satisfied with the Senates review of the plea deal.
“At this point, I think it’s been looked at repeatedly, and I think everybody has reached the same conclusion,” Blunt added.
Everybody being the Republican Party, certainly not vulnerable young girls whose lives were “ruined” according to them.
In keeping with Republicans having not even read the Mueller report, but being satisfied that there is nothing to see in a report generated by a well-respected Republican, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.VA) told The Hill she had not seen the new charges against Epstein but at this point she is “satisfied.”
Asked if Acosta should resign, Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) wondered why she was being asked about piddling child sex trafficking issues when Republicans are working on “tough legislation.”
“I don’t know. Why do you people ask this stuff? Don’t you realize that we’re working on tough legislation.”
No, actually, we have not known Republicans to be working on tough legislation for over a decade now.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) offed any responsibility to respond to these new charges by saying the Bush Justice Department approved the deal and the Obama Justice Department defended the plea deal.
That is, of course, not a comment on recent revelations or the morality of illegally hiding a deal from the victims so that they couldn’t argue against the sweetheart deal in court, couldn’t have a voice in the punishment of the man who raped them.
“Other GOP senators indicated as they returned to Washington on Monday after the weeklong July 4 recess that they hadn’t heard about the new indictments against Epstein, but appeared skeptical that they offered new information on the plea deal with Acosta,” The Hill reported.
In stark contrast, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called for Acosta to step down. “As US Attorney, he engaged in an unconscionable agreement w/ Jeffrey Epstein kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice,” she wrote, pointing out that Trump was aware of the deal when he appointed Acosta to his Cabinet.
It would be easy to dismiss Democratic calls for Acosta to resign as partisan warfare, but that claim could only be made the by the willfully ignorant at this point. Republicans have a long history of only caring about sexual misconduct when a Democrat does it, whereas Democrats police their own. Former Democratic Senator Al Franken can illuminate the reader further on this matter.
Epstein was convicted in 2008 of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution amid allegations of sex trafficking of minors. For this crime, he was sentenced to “custody with work release.” Do not try this if you are a person of color or poor; you will likely spend your life in prison.
“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump has said of Epstein in 2002. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it – Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
After siding with a confessed serial sexual assaulter who treats his own daughter like a piece of show meat in public (the president of the United States) and defending Republican senate candidate Roy Moore after he was accused of sexual misconduct with minors, it should come as no surprise that the Republican Party is now defending Trump’s labor secretary Alex Acosta.
The callousness with which they are doing so is a signal that they have long since ceded any claim of being the party of “morality” or “family values.”
The Epstein/Acosta scandal reveals an entire administration built around the belief that women and girls don’t have the right to their own bodies. The top law enforcers under Trump see women and girls as disposable trash to be used and then silenced, and Republicans are fine with that.
Ivanka Trump, who claimed she would be standing up for women, has said nothing and Melania Trump, who with no evidence accused Christine Blasey Ford of lying about Trump’s Supreme Court pick Kavanaugh sexually assaulting her, has also remained silent on a labor secretary who cheated the system to get a convicted child sex predator a sweetheart deal as part of her “Be Best” campaign focusing on well-being for youth.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.