U.S.

Which Trump Cabinet Member Keeps Falling Asleep in Meetings?

01_22_WilburRoss
U.S. President Donald Trump makes opening remarks as he holds a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House on January 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Pictured from left to right: U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis; and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Ron Sachs/Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s secretary of commerce keeps falling asleep in meetings, according to reports.

When he’s supposed to be working on the administration’s trade deals and bolstering the American economy, Wilbur Ross, 80, often has difficulty keeping his eyes open.

“Wilbur is good until about 11 a.m.,” a former senior administration official told Axios in a report Sunday about how Ross has fallen out of favor with Trump.

“A source I had contacted about something more important responded that not only has Wilbur Ross fallen asleep at every meeting he’s been in with source, but that he drools—and uses his tie to clean it up,” tweeted Politico White House reporter Eliana Johnson‏ Sunday.

The White House pushed back against these reports, stating Trump hasn’t become disenchanted with Ross at all. “Far from souring on his performance, since taking office, the President has expanded his responsibilities,” said Raj Shah, Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary, in a statement. “Secretary Ross is leading the administration’s approach on steel, aluminum, intellectual property and trade.”

Ross is, in fact, scheduled to join Trump at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week as part of his delegation, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, and other senior officials.

Read more: Wilbur Ross accused of insider trading in commerce secretary's “deal of the century”

Other reports indicate that Ross has not had an easy ride. In December a report by the European Parliament accused him of insider trading relating to his 2014 sale of his shares in the Bank of Ireland. Ross disputes this claim and called the report “a factually incorrect effort to smear me.”

Six months into the Trump administration, after Ross had taken the lead on trade negotiations with China before the confirmation of Robert Lighthizer as U.S. Trade Representative in May, during an Oval Office meeting the president called his efforts “no good”, according to Axios.

In July Trump rejected a deal that Ross had worked to broker with China, urging him to figure out a way to put tariffs on Chinese imports to the U.S., according to the Financial Times.

Ross also faced questions from Democrats in November after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed in the Paradise Papers that he had a large stake in a shipping company which also took large investments from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law, Kirill Shamalov.

Ross said there was no wrongdoing but sold his stake in the company Navigator, and another unrelated shipping company, after the Paradise Papers revealed he failed to list them on his government ethics disclosure forms.

A Trump administration official said at the time that Ross had begun divesting from the shipping company in May.

“Wilbur’s been sucking up for months,” a source close to Trump told Axios, indicating the commerce chief is “trying to get back in the president’s good graces.”

Editor's Pick