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Vice President’s Ceremonial Office

11:55 A.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  On behalf of the President of the United States, it is my honor to welcome you all today to the Office of the Vice President here at the White House complex for a very important moment in the life of this administration and in our national life, as I administer the oath of office to the 27th Secretary of Labor for the United States of America, Alexander Acosta.


We’re fortunate to be joined today by his father, Rene, his wife, Jan, and their beautiful and charming daughters, Delia and Rosie.  Would you welcome them as well?  (Applause.)

I also want to thank all of our distinguished guests who have joined us for this important moment, especially Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and all the Hispanic business and community leaders who are here with us today.  Thank you for being here on this historic day.

This Saturday marks the end of President Trump’s first 100 days in office, and as this period draws to a close, it’s worth reflecting for just a moment on the optimism and the progress that is sweeping across America, thanks to the leadership of President Donald Trump.

For nearly 100 days, President Trump has been delivering on the promises that he made to the American people, one after another.  He picked a world-class Cabinet, which we’re adding to today, which is working around the clock to implement an agenda to make America great again.  In Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Trump kept his promise to nominate a Supreme Court justice in the mold of the late and great Justice Antonin Scalia.

President Trump has been putting America first — rebuilding our military, restoring the arsenal of democracy, and he’s signing legislation to give our veterans the care that they deserve.  In fact, in now just short of 100 days, President Trump has signed 28 bills into law, 30 executive orders — historic numbers that show that not only is President Trump a man of his word, President Trump is a man of action.  (Applause.)

And since day one, the President has taken decisive action to get our economy moving again and restore opportunity and prosperity for every American family.  President Trump, I always like to say, has a three-part agenda:  Jobs, jobs, and jobs.  And to kick-start jobs and growth, the President has been slashing through mountains of red tape.  He’s renewed focus even earlier today on American energy and American energy independence.  And just a few short days ago, the President put forward a plan for the biggest tax cut for individuals and businesses in American history.  (Applause.)

And the result?  More than 500,000 new jobs have been created so far this year.  Small-business confidence has skyrocketed to its highest level in decades, and for manufacturers, the highest level in two decades.  And company after company is announcing plans to invest in our country for the benefit of American workers, American jobs, and America’s future.

The fact is that President Trump’s leadership has been making a difference every single day, and we’re just getting started.  And with our new Secretary of Labor, Alex Acosta, the President and I are confident that we will accomplish even more for working Americans and job creators all across this nation.  (Applause.)

Alex Acosta is the right man at the right time to lead the Department of Labor.  Born the son of two Cuban refugees, Alex showed his potential from his earliest days, earning both his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University.  He went on to clerk for Justice Samuel Alito on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and after a few years in private practice and as a professor at George Mason University School of Law, he entered into the noble path of public service.
In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Alex to serve as a member of the National Labor Relations Board.  Only one year later, President Bush appointed him to be the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, and two years after that, he became the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

Alex, I know you’ve tried to retire from public service more than once.  (Laughter.)  In 2009, you did it when you became dean of Florida International University College of Law.  But President Trump has now called you back — called you back to public service, to bring you character, your intellect, and your ability to serve the country.  And we couldn’t be more grateful.

Your service, past, present, and future, is truly a testament to the American Dream and to your own character and your own abilities.  I want to thank you again.  Thank you for stepping up to serve our country and to serve working Americans at such a time as this.  Given your long and distinguished record, your integrity and your leadership, the President and I are absolutely confident that as — with you as our new Secretary of Labor, we will continue to restore opportunity, prosperity and growth for working Americans now and for generations to come.  (Applause.)

And so, on behalf of President Trump, it is my great privilege to administer to you the oath of office.  Step aside and we’ll make it official.

(The oath is administered.)  (Applause.)

SECRETARY ACOSTA:  I want to thank President Trump, Vice President Pence, and the members of the Senate for the privilege of serving as Secretary of Labor.  I want to thank my wife, Jan.  Her unyielding support and her heartfelt love means the world to me.  It’s amazing to be loved, and I love her back more than words can really say.  And so, thank you.  (Applause.)

My daughters, Delia and Rosalia, are amazing.  They have followed this process in their own way.  When President Trump nominated me, I had to sit down and explain to them that we were, if confirmed, moving to Washington, and they wanted to know why.  And so I sort of took a pause and I tried to explain what being Secretary of Labor means in words that a four- and then six-year-old could understand.  And this is what I said.  I said, Daddy helps his students find good jobs, and so the President has asked Daddy to help people all over America find good jobs too.  (Applause.)

And then it struck me:  Explaining the responsibilities of the Secretary of Labor to a four- and a six-year-old really helped me encapsulate so many of the responsibilities of the Department of Labor.  Because, as the Vice President said, it is about finding and helping and supporting jobs and job growth.

My parents fled a Cuban dictatorship in search of freedom.  They met in high school.  They fell in love, and they married young.  Neither attended college.  What an amazing nation this is that the son of refugees who forwent an education to support a family could be standing here in this room, taking this oath, administered by the Vice President of the United States.  That is what America is about.  (Applause.)

My parents’ experience is part of who I am and frames my perspectives that I will bring to the important responsibilities of the Department of Labor.  We have a lot of work to do.  Too many Americans have seen jobs go overseas.  Too many Americans have seen jobs filled by foreign workers.  And too many Americans see that jobs are available, but that they don’t have the skills or the experience to fill those jobs.  The skills gap is real and needs to be addressed.

Supporting Americans’ ability to find good jobs, safe jobs is a priority for President Trump, for Vice President Pence, and for me.  I am honored and I am profoundly humbled to be called in service of this important effort.  Thank you very much.


12:08 P.M. EDT