Will Trump get his commerce secretary?
- Author: Zachary Reyes Mar 01, 2017,
Mar 01, 2017, 5:02
Ross, 79, a billionaire investor, is expected to play a crucial role in President Donald Trump's plans to change US trade policy, including renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Highlights of the day for U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Tuesday: ADDRESS TO CONGRESS After a turbulent start to his presidency, Trump goes before Congress on Tuesday night to give a speech that will be closely watched for details of his plans for the economy and whether he can strike a more conciliatory tone.
Senators did note that Ross is divesting from much of his business empire.
Ross' vast fortune was a top concern of lawmakers during his confirmation hearings.
Mr Ross hit the headlines when he said in December when he urged Cypriot financiers to strike during this "period of confusion" in Britain to draw businesses away from the City.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (left) shakes hands with Vice President Mike Pence after being sworn in with his wife, Hilary, by his side in Washington. He vowed to level the playing field for USA companies competing with Chinese imports and those trying to do business in China's highly restricted economy. In it, the New Jersey senator said the list of Russian businessmen with ties to both Putin and the Bank of Cyprus was "startling".
The vote comes almost three months after Trump first tapped the famed investor for his cabinet and four weeks after a Senate committee unanimously voted in favor of his nomination. In 2000, he founded WL Ross & Co., a private equity firm.
In a less contentious vote than other Trump nominees, Ross was confirmed by 72 votes to 27. Senators also were expected to move forward on Trump's nomination of Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke to lead the Interior Department.
Ross' involvement in the Bank of Cyprus raises many questions about his judgment, but also about the Trump Administration's seemingly endless direct and indirect connections with friends and associates of Vladimir Putin, who all 17 US intelligence agencies say conspired to interfere in the November 2016 USA election on behalf of Donald Trump. "The United States should provide that access to nations who agree to play by our standards of fair trade", Ross said. The union has endorsed him.
The commerce secretary has several roles in promoting American business interests in the USA and overseas.
Nelson said he would vote for Ross, a Palm Beach, Fla., resident, because he's a constituent and an admired businessman.