We don't want to shock or alarm you guys, but it really seems hard to ignore that Wilbur Ross either does not know or does not care what the job of the Commerce Secretary is...which is troubling since he's supposed to be the Commerce Secretary.
The animate remains that now constitute Mr. Ross spend an inordinate amount of time napping, worrying about foot comfort and thinking about how to monetize and dominate the actual moon. Unfortunately for American businesses, Wilbur does not seem to allot much of his precious little awake time to the "Promoting American businesses" part of the gig.
Whatever you might think of Wilbur's old career, or the man himself, it's become impossible to argue that he is anything other than a wrinkly, monotoned square peg in a round hole job. Even his boss has admitted that Wilbur's something of a mess. If it wasn't for the legion of other Trump cabinet members who are so glaringly fucking incompetent and brazenly corrupt, Wilbur's performance at Commerce thus far would be a precedent-setting example of how not to do a government job. In terms of the Trump administration though, Wilbur has been but a middling failure.
While Scott Pruitt takes a retinue of armed guards on double overtime just to take a dump and then charges it to taxpayers, Ben Carson turns his office into an even tackier Versailles with public funds, and Steve Mnuchin behaves like...well, Steve Mnuchin, Wilbur just goes about his short work day talking about how tariffs are dope and the moon is a gas station.
But today we got a real first glimpse into the reality that Wilbur might not even know what the fuck he is supposed to be doing. It's no secret that Wilbur is one of Trump's most trusted bag men when it comes to the whole China trade situation, and Ross has done his bit, sleepily going on TV and telling everyone to get their panties out of a twist about having to pay a few more cents here and there for steel and aluminum. He even did that adorable prop routine with the Campbell soup can, demonstrating that tariffs on aluminum will have no impact on companies that put their products in aluminum cans.
Remember? It was so dumb.
But it was also possibly even more wrong that logic dictated it to be. During an earnings call this morning, Campbell's reported a rather surprisingly shitty quarter, disclosing a $393 million loss and projecting that things will only get worse as long as aluminum tariffs stay in place. It was an unsubtle rebuke of the Trump administration's trade narrative by an American company, the guys that Wilbur is supposed to promote and legislatively protect.
That's a bit of a pickle for a Commerce Secretary. A large, publicly-traded iconic American brand is acting pissy about your boss's nascent trade war means that you need to play a tight line, stay cool and try to be as much of a mediator as you can... Take it away Wilbur:
Ross told CNBC that Campbell may be overstating the effect of the tariffs.
"It is physically impossible that a few days of a tariff resulted in a 393 million dollar loss. They are using [the tariffs] as a cover up for other problems," he said.
Hmm...Can we offer a gentle critique?
You suck at this.
Even if Campbell's is having deeper problems (and every indication is that they very well are), you don't tee off on them like a bitchy asshole. This isn't a girl turning you down for prom so you tell everyone she's crazy or a lesbian, it's an American corporation with a market of $10 billion that operates six plants in actual America.
You're the Commerce Secretary, man. Fucking google it.