Wilbur Ross: Reports of Trump criticism 'obsolete'

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNN Monday that the suggestion President Donald Trump was unhappy with his perfor...

Posted: Jan 23, 2018 5:42 AM
Updated: Jan 23, 2018 5:42 AM

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNN Monday that the suggestion President Donald Trump was unhappy with his performance was "obsolete," amid new reporting that Trump has soured on his Cabinet secretary.

Axios had detailed what it characterized as Trump's displeasure with the commerce secretary's progress in trade negotiations with China and reported that Ross fell asleep during meetings.

A report said Trump was unhappy with Ross because of Ross' work on China and that he falls asleep in meetings

The White House said Trump "loves" Ross

"That's an obsolete story. Look at the press release from the White House. Look at the President's press release," Ross told CNN in a brief phone interview.

"I thank you for your inquiry," Ross said, before hanging up the phone.

In response to a report from Axios that Trump had told someone, "Wilbur has lost his step," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday that Trump "loves" Ross.

"He has 100% confidence in Secretary Ross," Sanders said. "He loves Wilbur, thinks he is doing a great job and has been a strong advocate for this administration."

A White House official said Trump was unhappy with Ross last summer and that it stemmed primarily from the fact that the trade moves he had promised to make quickly were taking time and were tied up with legal or regulatory questions.

"He's in a good place with the President," the official told CNN.

A Hill source told CNN there is talk of Ross having "fallen out of favor with the White House."

"That could explain why embarrassing stories such as this are now appearing," the source said, referencing the Axios report.

The Commerce Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and an automatic reply by email said only a very limited number of public affairs staff would be working during the government shutdown.

While Ross has been less in the public eye recently than he had in the beginning of Trump's tenure, a senior administration official offered that major issues for Ross, like trade, "aren't dominant right now" compared to other key issues of the day like tax reform, immigration, foreign policy and the recent government shutdown.

"But that doesn't mean he's not doing his job," the official said.

As with most personnel intrigue stories that come out of this White House, this official also cautioned that it is important to distinguish between what Trump himself is really thinking and what his staff might be trying to circulate and plant with the press.

But the potential distance from his commerce secretary may not mean Trump intends to oust Ross. A source close to the White House who speaks regularly with Trump said there was no indication yet that Ross was about to lose his job.

"I don't think he's on (the) chopping block yet," the source said.

The Axios report said Trump had unloaded on Ross during meetings about six months into his presidency and told Ross he didn't trust him to negotiate.

A source recounted to Axios that Trump told Ross: "Your understanding of trade is terrible. Your deals are no good. No good."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 1677
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Hennepin18641828
Ramsey7233261
Dakota4188104
Anoka3515114
Stearns286420
Washington200944
Nobles17536
Olmsted168823
Scott147918
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Blue Earth8745
Wright8475
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Sherburne7037
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St. Louis48619
Todd4222
Lyon4213
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Steele3381
Nicollet32913
Benton3153
Watonwan3010
Winona25416
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Martin2045
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Wilkin323
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Wadena240
Red Lake230
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Lake200
Stevens170
Clearwater150
Traverse100
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Kittson30
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 47424

Reported Deaths: 910
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10032206
Woodbury369151
Black Hawk308463
Linn227987
Johnson202116
Dallas184635
Buena Vista179112
Scott165514
Dubuque162331
Marshall142525
Pottawattamie128426
Story114114
Wapello87233
Muscatine84048
Webster7727
Crawford7263
Sioux6143
Cerro Gordo59617
Warren5471
Tama54529
Jasper46626
Wright4551
Plymouth4528
Louisa38014
Dickinson3774
Clinton3623
Washington29310
Boone2442
Hamilton2441
Franklin2339
Bremer2037
Clarke1953
Emmet1882
Carroll1851
Shelby1771
Clay1761
Hardin1730
Marion1620
Allamakee1544
Poweshiek1538
Des Moines1522
Jackson1481
Benton1461
Floyd1432
Mahaska13917
Guthrie1315
Cedar1281
Jones1272
Buchanan1231
Hancock1212
Butler1192
Henry1193
Pocahontas1151
Madison1142
Lyon1092
Lee1073
Cherokee1031
Clayton1023
Harrison1020
Humboldt1001
Delaware991
Taylor960
Iowa941
Monona910
Winneshiek911
Mills850
Page850
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Mitchell780
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