R. Alexander Acosta, President Donald Trump’s new nominee for secretary of labor, has a troubling history when it comes to standing up to Islamic supremacist groups in America.
President Trump announced Acosta’s nomination Thursday during a press conference at the White House. Acosta previously served as assistant attorney general for civil rights in the George W. Bush administration. The labor secretary nominee comes with an impressive resume.
A Harvard Law School graduate and former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Acosta became dean of Florida International University law school in 2009. He also previously served on the National Labor Relations Board.
During his tenure in the Bush administration, however, Acosta became a celebrated brand amongst fringe Islamic advocacy groups.
In 2005, he received the annual “Friend in Government Award” from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, an extremist anti-Israel group that has made supportive statements toward the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups in the past.
In accepting the award, Acosta stated: “We’re all in this together and we’re all Americans. September 11th was not an attack by one people or one religion against another, but it was really an attack by a few desperate radicals against all of us.” After ignoring the fact that all of the hijackers were Arab Muslims, Acosta went on to showcase how Muslims, too, were killed and victims of the World Trade Center attack.
In 2006, the Hamas-tied Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) specifically thanked Acosta for refusing to note the Muslim identity of al-Qaeda linked suspects of terror arrests in Miami.
“Given that the reported beliefs of this bizarre group have nothing to do with Islam, we ask members of the media to refrain from calling them 'Muslims,’” CAIR spokesman Ahmed Bedier said, thanking Acosta for saying that "today's indictment … is not against a particular group or a particular faith" in his role as U.S. attorney.
In 2011, Alex Acosta testified in a “Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims” hearing, in which Democrats argued that police should stop conducting surveillance on potentially radical communities. Instead of discussing the threats promulgating from radicalized communities throughout the country, Trump’s labor secretary nominee lectured Americans about their supposed anti-Muslim tendencies.
Acosta is a product of the disastrous policies put in place by the Bush administration to engage already-radicalized elements of the Islamic community in America. This approach led Bush to declare a politically correct “War on Terrorism” in which the administration refused to identify the religiously motivated enemy America was facing, for fear it would somehow upset moderate Islamic communities.
In reality, the Bush policies dutifully carried out by Alex Acosta hindered American efforts to fight global jihadism, and continued to be put into effect throughout President Obama’s unfortunate tenure.
Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for CR. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel