President Donald Trump has reportedly chosen R. Alexander Acosta as his second nominee for labor secretary after fast-food executive Andrew Puzder withdrew Wednesday, as it became clear he would not earn enough support in the Senate to be confirmed.
Acosta is the first Hispanic nominee to Trump’s cabinet. He previously served as the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division under former President George W. Bush. In 2011, Acosta testified before Congress to defend the rights of Muslim Americans, where he argued that "we are a nation built on principles of freedom, and high on the list of freedoms is freedom of religious expression."
Acosta formerly served as a U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and is currently the dean of the Florida International University College of Law. Jeva Lange
There has been a lot of surprisingly serious discussion about President Trump’s mental health — one congressman, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), says he will introduce legislation requiring a psychiatrist at the White House, along with the White House physician. Mental health professionals have even disregarded ethical guidelines against diagnosing somebody from afar for Trump, including a group that wrote a letter to The New York Times published Wednesday, suggesting that Trump is psychologically incapable of being president.
Dr. Allen Frances, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical College, lightly scolded his colleagues for their New York Times letter in his own Valentine’s Day letter to The Times, and he shot down the usual mental malady attributed to Trump. "Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabeled President Trump with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder," he wrote. "I wrote the criteria that define this disorder, and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them." Frances was chairman of the group that wrote the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV, or psychiatry’s "bible," so he isn’t exaggerating. But if it sounds like he is standing up for Trump, he quickly dispelled that notion:
Mr. Trump causes severe distress rather than experiencing it and has been richly rewarded, rather than punished, for his grandiosity, self-absorption, and lack of empathy. It is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well behaved and well meaning) to be lumped with Mr. Trump (who is neither) … His psychological motivations are too obvious to be interesting, and analyzing them will not halt his headlong power grab. The antidote to a dystopic Trumpean dark age is political, not psychological. [The New York Times]
Read the rest of his curt letter at The New York Times. Peter Weber