Economy

Report: Trump Insults His Commerce Secretary to His Face

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Will the Trump regime actually go through with their on-again, off-again plan to impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods in the coming weeks?

Your guess is as good as mine at this point, but the key to avoiding a hot trade war could be Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

That's not good news. Ross will visit China in the coming weeks to make one last attempt to avoid it, but Ross has apparently fallen out of favor with Trump. Politico reports that Trump has insulted Ross to his face in the oval office and it's possible he's being set up to fail.

Trump himself has lashed out at Ross in Oval Office meetings, telling the man who once helped bail him out in Atlantic City that he’s “past his prime” and “no longer a killer” and trying to bench him from making trade deals, according to three people familiar with the comments. [...]

“The fact that he is going over to China is a signal that the president has some confidence in him. He likes Ross even if he does not consider him a killer,” said one former administration official. “But it’s also a signal that they are not expecting a whole lot. You would not send him if you were expecting real progress.

I don't know if Wilbur Ross was ever a "killer" but, curiously, Politico also reports that Ross's last visit to China was part of his downfall in the White House. Ross reportedly brokered a deal that would open up Chinese markets to American beef in exchange for opening the American market up to Chinese chicken.

That seems like the kind of deal you may be open to making if you were actually interested in making deals, but Trump reportedly rejected the deal because it was "too small." That would certainly comport with everything else we've seen in recent weeks. Trump just wants put on a big show.

Regarding both trade and North Korea, I get the impression that Trump is following the same script in both cases: act erratic under the belief that it will lead to a miraculous breakthrough for no particular reason.

It's the Art of the Fail. Or fallout.

  • muselet

    Yes, the beef-for-chicken deal was a relatively small-bore stuff.

    Not everything can be epic. Small-bore stuff is important to restricted but economically-important industries and is, therefore, important to the US economy as a whole.

    Also, undercutting one’s own Secretary of Commerce ahead of trade talks is an unspeakably stupid thing to do, and I feel uncomfortable pointing that out because that’s just so bloody obvious. However, that’s the way things are with Donald Trump in the White House.

    The Art of the Fail, indeed.

    –alopecia

    • We are drowning in all the “unspeakably stupid” things that Trump does. I keep hoping that Mueller will throw us a life vest before we sink for the last time. In this climate I think that makes me an optimist.

  • Nefercat

    I’m pretty sure it was Ross that I watched during the convention going on and on about how well he knew trump and how you will never find a more honest, moral, upright, blah blah blah blah businessman than trump and he is so honest and honorable and honest and upright and honest and so on. He kept going on about trump’s honesty. Maybe I was hallucinating.

    • Badgerite

      Please. trump is a straight up crook.

      • Nefercat

        Yes, I know. So Ross is either a crook himself or a world-class moron.

        • Badgerite

          Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for itself.

  • Aynwrong

    Trump wouldn’t know a good deal if he tripped over it and the “deal” bit him on the ass and then barked in his face. Everything is a show designed to placate the Dear Leader’s bottomless ego.

    • Draxiar

      I’m pretty sure that trump believes that if he didn’t make the deal then it’s a bad deal. Doesn’t matter by who or for what. He thinks he’s a tough negotiator because not only does he have to win the other has to lose. People catch on to that real quick.