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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."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31257

Reported Deaths: 1114
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds253640
DeSoto162016
Madison131434
Jones112849
Neshoba99271
Rankin95112
Harrison93311
Lauderdale91079
Forrest87842
Scott77315
Jackson63816
Copiah60715
Washington5919
Leake57819
Holmes55741
Lee55219
Wayne54513
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51618
Yazoo5136
Lowndes49413
Leflore49151
Grenada4905
Lincoln46634
Lamar4657
Pike44112
Monroe40330
Sunflower4008
Lafayette3934
Attala36123
Covington3595
Panola3526
Bolivar34014
Newton3399
Simpson3233
Adams31318
Pontotoc2926
Tate28810
Marion28411
Chickasaw27918
Claiborne27910
Noxubee2678
Winston2666
Jasper2636
Pearl River25732
Clay25111
Marshall2343
Smith21811
Union2109
Clarke20724
Walthall2045
Coahoma2016
Kemper17914
Lawrence1782
Yalobusha1737
Carroll16611
Humphreys1509
Tallahatchie1374
Itawamba1368
Montgomery1352
Calhoun1324
Tippah13111
Hancock13013
Webster12710
Jefferson Davis1124
Jefferson1083
Prentiss1083
Greene1058
Tunica1053
Wilkinson949
Amite912
George893
Tishomingo831
Quitman780
Choctaw744
Alcorn712
Perry674
Stone651
Franklin452
Benton380
Sharkey380
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 45263

Reported Deaths: 1007
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5410152
Montgomery4158103
Mobile4129134
Tuscaloosa232142
Marshall172410
Madison14917
Lee141137
Shelby133423
Morgan11215
Walker97824
Elmore94314
Franklin89814
Baldwin8949
Dallas8919
Etowah75013
DeKalb7375
Chambers64227
Butler63428
Autauga61012
Tallapoosa60569
Russell5650
Houston5074
Unassigned50323
Limestone5010
Lauderdale4966
Lowndes47221
Cullman4594
Pike4375
Colbert4086
St. Clair4022
Escambia3966
Coffee3812
Calhoun3765
Covington3707
Bullock36910
Barbour3532
Talladega3177
Hale31421
Marengo31211
Dale2990
Wilcox2948
Sumter28512
Jackson2842
Clarke2776
Winston2633
Chilton2522
Blount2431
Monroe2392
Pickens2366
Marion23313
Conecuh2107
Randolph2099
Macon1999
Choctaw19512
Bibb1941
Greene1868
Perry1791
Henry1363
Crenshaw1253
Washington1117
Lawrence1100
Cherokee1027
Geneva830
Lamar781
Fayette711
Clay692
Coosa591
Cleburne381
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