Trump Today: Trump backs Acosta as Democrats call for labor chief to quit over Epstein case

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday praised Alexander Acosta as Democrats called for the labor secretary to quit over his handling of a sex-crimes case involving billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, and oversaw signing ceremonies between Qatar and several U.S. companies.

ACOSTA DEFENSE

With top Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanding that Acosta resign, Trump defended his labor chief — but said his role in the 2008 Epstein case needed to be looked at “very carefully.”

“He’s been just an excellent secretary of labor. He’s done a fantastic job,” said Trump in the Oval Office alongside the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani. “The rest of it we’ll have to look at.”

Acosta, when he was U.S. attorney in Miami, struck a plea deal with Epstein that has been criticized as too lenient. This week, federal prosecutors in New York charged Epstein with two counts related to sex trafficking of minors. Epstein has pleaded not guilty. Acosta said Tuesday in a series of tweets that he supported the new effort by prosecutors to “more fully bring [Epstein] to justice.”

Read: Acosta says he’s ‘pleased’ prosecutors are charging Epstein as he ignores Democrats’ calls to resign from Trump cabinet.

Trump also said he knew Epstein but that he “wasn’t a fan.” He said they’d had a “falling out” and hadn’t spoken in years.

See: New sex-trafficking charges in New York allege Jeffrey Epstein abused dozens of girls as young as 14.

QATAR DEALS, INDIA TARIFFS

Trump oversaw signing ceremonies involving Qatari purchases of Boeing BA, +0.66%   planes, Raytheon RTN, +1.08%  missile equipment, and General Electric GE, +0.59%   jet engines.

“They’re buying tremendous amounts of military equipment, including planes,” said Trump. “And they’re buying commercial planes, as you know — very large numbers of commercial planes from Boeing. And we very much appreciate it.”

The White House said Qatar Airways had purchased five Boeing 777 Freighters, a move that was announced by the airline last month at the Paris Air Show.

In a tweet, the president ramped up pressure on another U.S. trading partner, India, saying its tariffs on U.S. products are “no longer acceptable!” As MarketWatch reports, it was the second time Trump has criticized Indian trade policy in the past two weeks.

Now see: Trump’s new target of unfair trade: India.

‘WACKY’ U.K. AMBASSADOR

For a third consecutive day, Trump blasted the U.K.’s ambassador to the U.S., saying envoy Kim Darroch was “wacky” and a “pompous fool.”

In leaked memos, Darroch described the Trump administration as “uniquely dysfunctional,” prompting Trump to last out at him as well as outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May. On Monday, Trump said May had made a “mess” of Brexit. Trump has spoken positively about Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London who is a strong favorite to replace May.

Now read: Leaked memos reveal U.K. ambassador’s scathing views on Trump administration.

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