Do you think Acosta ever asked himself whether he could have fought harder? Nah. The problem was the victims, who were too “scared and traumatized” to be good witnesses. Asked by reporters if he had any regrets, he just said that was “a very hard question.”
Have you heard anybody in the Trump administration apologize for anything? Well, there was the occasion the secretary of health and human services said he was sorry he spent $400,000 of our tax dollars to fly around in specially chartered planes. But that was a long time and a whole lot of bad behavior ago.
About Jeffrey Epstein. He sounds like one of the worst people imaginable, so we are, of course, stunned to hear he used to be tight with our current chief executive. “Terrific guy,” Trump said in an interview with New York magazine 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.”
The palship no longer exists. “I had a falling-out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you,” said the president, who appears to have erased the lot-of-fun-to-be-with period.
Ever since the Epstein scandal arose, Trump has been defending Acosta, stressing what an “excellent” job he’s doing. After all, the president told reporters, “our economy is so good, our unemployment numbers are at record lows.” You might have thought he was under the impression the secretary of labor had something to do with boosting the economy. As opposed to things like workplace safety and collecting job statistics.
Hmm. Before this week, what do you think Donald Trump thought the Department of Labor did?
A) Something about delivering babies.
B) Something about getting good people to, you know, mow the lawn and stuff.
The president is oblivious, but otherwise almost nobody likes the job Acosta’s been doing. People who care about workers are naturally outraged that he’s been trying to water down everything from mine safety regulations to the rules that prohibit restaurant managers from grabbing a piece of the waiters’ tips.
You’ve got to be appalled by Acosta’s failure to stand up for vulnerable children being lured into serving as sex playthings for a man who truly does epitomize the concept of filthy rich.
But are you upset that Trump is too much of an ethical beanbag to get rid of him? The sad truth is that we’re really probably better off with Cabinet members too inept to accomplish anything at all.
Cheer up. There’s always soccer.
Gail Collins writes for The New York Times.