Billionaire Wilbur Ross has been confirmed as President Donald Trump’s commerce secretary, adding to the list of controversial people in the cabinet.
Known as the “king of bankruptcy,” Ross has been recognized for his ability to buying troubled companies for cheap and selling them for billions of dollars in profit. “He has an exquisite sense of timing to buy low and sell high — that’s not easy,” says Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International economics.
However, the 79-year-old is also known for transferring thousands of jobs out of the U.S. to countries such as Mexico, China and Vietnam in an attempt to rescue firms from failure. Interestingly, this goes absolutely against Trump’s promise to bring manufacturing back to America in order to increase employment.
In 2016 International Automotive Components Group, a company created by Ross, shut down its factory in Canton, Ohio, and shifted production of rubber floor mats to Mexico. "He is not the man to be protecting American workers when he's shipping this stuff overseas himself," said Don Coy, one employee who lost his job in the bargain.
The “Wall Street fat cat,” as referred to by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, is also suspected of having shady ties with Russia and “serious business conflicts.”
.@CommerceGov nominee Wilbur Ross is practically a cartoon stereotype of a Wall Street fat cat with no interest in anyone but himself.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 27, 2017
Wilbur Ross has shady ties to Russia, serious business conflicts, & a history of cheating people out of their homes.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 27, 2017
Senators Chuck Schumer and Warren therefore voted against Ross’ confirmation, claiming he had a “long history of profiting from the suffering of others.”
Apparently, Ross has alleged connections with Viktor Vekselberg, a Bank of Cyprus shareholder who is described as a friend to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We know that Ross installed a former KGB official and close associate of Vladmir Putin as the vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, a bank that Mr. Ross controlled, and a bank that was flooded with Russian money,” Warren said of the issue.
The commerce secretary is now expected to be a vital part of the Trump administration, possessing power over trade matters, economic growth, taxes and infrastructure spending among many others.
Check out the video above to learn more about Wilbur Ross.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Tim Chong