Business

Report: German Trade Officials Laughed at Wilbur Ross

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump is finally be right about one thing: the rest of the world is laughing at us.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross spoke via live video at the Christian Democratic Union’s (Chancellor Merkel’s party) business conference in Berlin where he was cut off for speaking for far too long.

Attendees at the Christian Democratic Union’s business conference in Berlin laughed and clapped when organizers faded out Wilbur Ross after about 20 minutes for overstepping his time limit. Merkel, who had been craning her neck on the podium to watch Ross speak on a screen behind her, then took the floor to close out the evening.

“That was the U.S. secretary of commerce, who had promised us a 10-minute statement,” Werner M. Bahlsen, head of the CDU Economic Council, told the audience Tuesday evening. “As you saw, he spoke a bit slowly, so it took a bit longer. Now we look forward to the chancellor’s speech.”

In addition to laughing at him, German officials and Merkel herself pushed back on some of the claims Ross made during his speech.

Specifically, Ross criticized Germany's trade surplus and claimed imports of German steel would harm the United States economy. German officials replied by pointing out that German companies have invested heavily in the U.S.

They're not wrong about that, and while it apparently wasn't explicitly addressed, they could have been rebutting Trump's recent off-hand comments about possiblly banning German automobile sales.

That would be incredibly stupid since German carmakers employ thousands of Americans who build German-designed cars right here in the United States, most notably in South Carolina, a state that voted for Trump. It also probably wouldn't be legal.

But I must admit it would be mildly entertaining to see Trump try to tell his wealthy donors that there will be no more Mercedes. And I'm willing to bet that, among German car dealership owners, a significant portion of them also probably voted for and donated to Trump.

I don't expect that will ever actually happen as it would be insane for all the reasons I highlighted among many others.

  • muselet

    I don’t blame the CDU for cutting Wilbur Ross off. The producers of every awards show have to do something similar with almost every winner.

    However, since the CDU wasn’t sufficiently obsequious toward Ross, I can imagine Donald Trump echoing Ronald Reagan:

    My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Germany forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

    The difference being, Reagan was joking.

    –alopecia

  • Aynwrong

    I’m not even a little surprised by this. Ross may be a qualified banker but the last time I saw him speaking in public I wasn’t exactly impressed. If had to describe his speaking style the term “low energy” cones to mind.

    I don’t know if the man is qualified to be Commerce Secretary but I’ve never believed his qualifications are why he was given the job in the first place. He’s there because he was a sufficient Russian money launderer for Donald Trump.