Standing in the East Room after an abruptly announced press conference, the president touted Acosta's Ivy League credentials and said he believes Acosta will be "a tremendous secretary of labor."
Trump said the two men just spoke by phone. Acosta did not appear to be in the room during the announcement.
Acosta served as assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division under President George W. Bush, selected by the president in August 2003. Acosta was a member of the National Labor Relations Board and also served as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division. Most recently, he was the dean of Florida International University College of Law.
If confirmed, Acosta would be the first Hispanic in Trump's cabinet.