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Commerce Department is 'a disaster'; Wilbur Ross falls asleep in meetings

Believe me, I wish I could sleep through the Trump years, too — and I don’t even work at the White House.

But if you’re a cabinet member, maybe you should stay awake for this? I mean, at any moment Trump could unilaterally declare that we’re switching from the dollar to Schrute Bucks. Or even Stanley Nickels.


The Commerce Department has reached its apex of dysfunction under Wilbur Ross, according to four people with knowledge of the inner workings of the department. The 81-year-old Commerce secretary, who has for months endured whispers that he is on the outs, spends much of his time at the White House to try to retain President Donald Trump’s favor, the sources said, leaving his department adrift.

Well, of course he does, because that’s the only job anyone in this administration has — pretending to look competent to the most incompetent man on the face of the earth. It’s a real game of three-card monte.

He’s hardly the only top Trump official to seek the president’s approval. But department insiders say they’ve rarely seen Commerce so rudderless — and they say Ross’ penchant for managing upward at the expense of his staff is leading to what one plugged-in observer described as “a disaster over there.”

“With our ongoing trade wars and the census looming, Commerce needs functional leadership to be effective, and right now they just don’t have it,” said Theo LeCompte, a former top Commerce official in the Obama administration who speaks often with former colleagues.

Ah, but Trump doesn’t actually reward competence. He rewards “loyalty” — i.e., perpetual ass-kissing.

And, of course, the coup de grâce:

“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,” said the former outside adviser. “There’s a small window where he’s able to focus and pay attention and not fall asleep.”

For his part, Commerce flack Kevin Manning disputes all this, calling Ross “tireless,” which is only a few jots and tittles away from “tired,” so it’s not a total lie, I guess.

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Even worse, though, Ross’ aides have apparently attempted to keep him from testifying in front of Congress because he doesn’t know what he’s doing: There’s “a great deal of effort to shield him from testifying ever again,” said one source.

Only the best people, right?

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