Apparently things at the Commerce Department are a disaster. To add insult to injury, 81-year-old commerce secretary Wilbur Ross doesn’t seem to be able to stay awake during meetings, according to The Daily Beast and Politico.
A new report says that Ross is rarely seen at the department and isn’t respected. A source said:
“He’s sort of seen as kind of irrelevant. The morale is very low there because there’s not a lot of confidence in the secretary… He’s not respected in the building.”
Ross also doesn’t hold meetings on a routine basis due to his “lack of stamina”. Another source said:
“Because he tends to fall asleep in meetings, they try not to put him in a position where that could happen, so they’re very careful and conscious about how they schedule certain meetings… There’s a small window where he’s able to focus and pay attention and not fall asleep.”
Ross’s staff refutes that notion, claiming that he frequently has “long” afternoon meetings. Commerce Press Secretary Kevin Manning said:
“Secretary Ross is a tireless worker who is the sole decision-maker at the department. He routinely works 12-hour days and travels often, with visits to seven countries and eight states in the last three months to advance the president’s agenda.”
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department has reached its “apex of dysfunction” and officials are trying to avoid having Ross testify at a congressional oversight hearing ever again.
“There’s a great deal of effort to shield him from testifying ever again,” said one source.
“There was a great deal of concern to not have him testify expressed from the White House. Don’t do this, people. Don’t do this, he’s probably not the right guy to go there.’”
Theo LeCompte, a former top Commerce official said: “With our ongoing trade wars and the census looming, Commerce needs functional leadership in order to be effective, and right now they just don’t have it.”
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