“Gene has led a life of great success in the legal and labor field and is highly respected not only as a lawyer, but as a lawyer with great experience….working with labor and everyone else,” Trump tweeted.
Scalia is the son of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016, and is a partner at Washington, D.C. law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
The firm described Scalia as having “national practice handling a broad range of labor, employment, appellate, and regulatory matters” on its website.
They also said he previously served as “Solicitor of the U.S. Department of Labor, the Department’s principal legal officer with responsibility for all Labor Department litigation and legal advice on rulemakings and administrative law.”
Trump’s search for a new labor secretary was prompted by Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s resignation on Friday amid the tumult over his handling of a 2008 secret plea deal with wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, who is accused of sexually abusing underage girls.
Trump said he did not ask Acosta to leave the administration and “I hate to see this happen.”
Acosta “informed me this morning that he felt the constant drumbeat of press about a prosecution which took place under his watch more than 12 years ago was bad for the Administration, which he so strongly believes in, and he graciously tendered his resignation,” Trump tweeted later that day.
Acosta had been serving as labor secretary since his confirmation to the Cabinet position in April 2017.
Trump said Patrick Pizzella, deputy secretary since April 2018, would succeed Acosta on an acting basis until a new labor secretary was appointed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.