President Trump is mulling over replacing the Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, by the end of this year, according to several media reports. In the wake of firing his attorney general, the president is now considering replacing Ross with either Small Business Administration chief Linda McMahon or Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) President Ray Washburne, according to a report by CNBC on Friday.
McMahon is the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment and she has been friends with Trump for decades. She currently manages the federal agency designed to bolster financing for small businesses.
Washburne is a prominent Dallas investor and top Republican Party fundraiser. He currently leads OPIC, which helps U.S. firms invest in overseas projects meant to bolster U.S. economic and national security.
An OPIC spokesman said “Mr. Washburne remains focused on implementing the BUILD Act and launching the new US Development Finance Corporation.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders commented that there were “No personnel announcements at this time.”
Trump has reportedly become disappointed with Ross and has privately mocked Ross’s age, according to several media reports, and claimed he’s lost his edge as a dealmaker. The Commerce Secretary has also faced ethics complaints regarding official meetings he held with companies in which he invested. The secretary is under fire for meeting with top executives from Chevron, Boeing, and Greenbrier on issues before the Commerce Department while still holding stakes in those firms.
Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Cory Booker (N.J.) on Friday asked the Commerce Department’s top ethics official for information regarding Ross’ meetings with those firms.
“Secretary Ross’s decisions to meet with senior Chevron, Boeing, and Greenbrier officials while maintaining his investments in those companies raises questions about his compliance with federal conflict of interest criminal statutes,” the senators wrote.