Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) concedes that Alexander Acosta is more qualified to serve as labor secretary than Trump's previous pick, former Hardee's CEO Andrew Puzder. During a contentious Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, she reminded the public that her praise ends there.
"The test for Secretary of Labor is not, are you better than Andrew Puzder?" she said. "The test is, will you stand up for 150 million American workers, and that starts by making sure that workers are safe on their jobs."
Warren grilled Acosta on his commitment to the "silica rule," which affects over 2 million workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica daily, protecting them from being poisoned.
"If I'm confirmed as Secretary of Labor, I believe and support my following executive orders of the president, who would be my boss," Acosta offered meekly.
Warren had heard enough.
"None of these were trick questions," she recalled. "I asked you exactly these questions when you were in my office two weeks ago, and you said in all three cases that you would not hide behind an executive order from Trump."
"Now I understand that you may not want to answer my questions, but there are about 150 million American workers who are pretty interested in the answers to these questions," Warren continued.
"These are questions that determine whether or not they can go to work every day without worrying about getting one cancer at their workplace, whether they're going to be paid fairly for the work when they have it so they'll have enough money to put food on the table and send their kids to college and whether, after a lifetime of back-breaking work, they're going to have a chance to retire with some dignity."