WASHINGTON, July 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump Thursday said he would nominate Eugene Scalia, son of the late supreme court justice Antonin Scalia, as the next secretary of labor.

"I am pleased to announce that it is my intention to nominate Gene Scalia as the new Secretary of Labor," Trump tweeted.

"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," he said.

The tweet came shortly after U.S. media cited official sources as saying that Eugene Scalia, 55, had become the top candidate for the vacant spot in Trump's administration.

He is currently a partner at a Washington law firm, where he works on labor and employment related cases.

Eugene Scalia previously worked as the solicitor of the labor department during the George W. Bush administration, and an assistant to then and now Attorney General William Barr in the 1990s.

Current labor secretary Alexander Acosta resigned last week and will leave office Friday. He stepped down after coming under scrutiny for giving a lenient plea deal to wealthy financier Jeff Epstein, who was charged with sex crimes that involved underage girls in 2008.

Antonin Scalia served as a supreme court justice from 1986 until his death in 2016.