Wilbur Louis Ross, Jr. (born November 28, 1937) is an American businessman who served as the 39th United States Secretary of Commerce from 2017 to 2021. A member of the Republican Party, Ross was previously chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of WL Ross & Co from 2000 to 2017.
- The other thing that was fascinating to me, was there was not a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there. Not one guy with a bad placard.
- I am not anti-trade. I am pro-trade, but I am pro-sensible trade, not trade that is to the disadvantage of the American worker and to the American manufacturing community.
- U.S. Commerce nominee Ross says NAFTA is Trump's first trade priority (January 18, 2017)
- Andrew Ross Sorkin: ...is the debate over everything else that the administration is fighting for worth more than the risk that's being taken on at the moment and the affect it's having on families of federal workers?
Ross: Well first of all, the banks and credit unions should be making credit available to them. When you think about it, these are basically government-guaranteed loans because the government has committed these folks will get back pay once this whole thing gets settled down. So there really is not a good excuse why there should be a liquidity crisis. Now, true, the people might have to pay a little bit of interest. But the idea that it's paycheck or zero is not a really valid idea. ...
Andrew Ross Sorkin: ...I interviewed Alex Karp, he's the CEO of Palantir, a major contractor in the United States working on behalf of the pentagon and the Defense Department. He said that the government shutdown, he believed, was terribly damaging to the brand of our country. Do you believe that?
Ross: I think that's a great deal of hyperbole. We've had shutdowns before, albeit for not such a long period as we've been thus far, but put in the perspective. You're talking about 800,000 workers and while I feel sorry for the individuals that have hardship cases, 800,000 workers. If they never got their pay -- which is not the case, they will eventually get it, but if they never got it, you're talking about a third of a percent on our GDP. So it's not like it's a gigantic number overall.
Andrew Ross Sorkin: Mr. Secretary, but -- Mr. Secretary, there are reports there are some federal workers who are going to homeless shelters to get food.
Ross: Well, I know they are and I don't really quite understand why. Because, as I mentioned before, the obligations that they would undertake, say borrowing from a bank or a credit union are in effect federally guaranteed. So the 30 days of pay that some people will be out, there's no real reason why they shouldn't be able to get a loan against it and we've seen a number of ads from financial institutions doing that.
- January 24, 2019 to Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times on CNBC's Squawk Box (Flitter, Emily; Siegel Bernard, Tara (January 24, 2019). "Another Loan? Furloughed Employees Balk at Wilbur Ross’s Suggestion". The New York Times. ; Cummings, William (January 24, 2019). "Commerce secretary says there's no 'good excuse' for furloughed workers to run out of cash". USA Today. ; "Transcript: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Speaks with CNBC's "Squawk Box" Today". Squawk Box. NBC News (CNBC). January 24, 2019. ; Sullivan, Kate (January 24, 2019). "Wilbur Ross doesn't 'quite understand' why furloughed workers are going to homeless shelters to get food". CNN. ; "US shutdown: 'Out of touch' Wilbur Ross mocked online". BBC. January 25, 2019. ; Paletta, Damian (January 24, 2019). "Commerce secretary doesn’t understand why unpaid federal workers use food banks". The Washington Post. )
Quotes about Ross
- [Trump] appoints as his commerce secretary one of leading vulture capitalists in America, Wilbur Ross, whose specialty is seizing a company that's run out of cash, recapitalizing it. You don't pay the bills you owe... (something that Donald Trump never heard of). You borrow new money (something Donald Trump certainly has heard of) then you squeeze the borrowed money out and put it in your own pocket, and you turn the zombie [company] loose until it dies.
- Wilbur Ross goes with Donald Trump to Riyadh, where Donald Trump praises the Saudis for leading the fight against terrorism. You know who the biggest funders of terrorism in the world are? He attacks Qatar... an ally of the US that allows us to have our most important military base there. ...Wilbur Ross comes back from this trip, he goes on CNBC and he says, "...The Saudi people love us. ...There wasn't a single demonstrator, anywhere..." and Becky Quick ...says "...It's against the law to protest there. They arrest people. They whip them," and he said "Well, if you say so. I don't know... [M]y Saudi guards got out these two baskets of dates... what a heartfelt gift..." This guy doesn't even know when he's being bribed by a foreign government.
- Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, @U.S. Dept. of Commerce
- Wilbur L. Ross Jr. @C-SPAN