The Stocks of Wilbur Ross

Jun 2013
Jack Holmes is Associate Editor for News & Politics at, where he writes daily and edits the Politics Blog with Charles P. Pierce. He also does a dash of sports and some feature writing. His work has appeared in New York magazine and The Daily Beast.

The following are excerpts from his December 21, 2018 article headlined "Shocker: Grift King Wilbur Ross Did Not Tell the Truth About Selling His Stocks" with the subheading "Wilbur Ross doesn't get enough attention as the most shameless operator in Donald Trump's orbit."

(Begin excerpts)
We know now that Donald Trump's election to the American presidency was a Bat Signal to every shameless grifter this fine country has to offer. Confidence men and scam artists from sea to shining sea swarmed towards Our Nation's Capital, clambering over one another to make a murky home for themselves in the newly remodeled Swamp. Some of them are in the president's own family. All of them know they've stumbled into the jewelry store, and the clock is ticking. Smash the glass and grab everything you can.

One of the most consistently underrated cartoon oligarchs now plaguing our national government is Wilbur Ross. The Secretary of Commerce is a Businessman with a long and storied career making Business Deals. Also, he allegedly stole $120 million from his various business partners over the years, which caused the godless socialists at Forbes magazine to announce he "could rank among the biggest grifters in American history." We spent all that time chasing Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke, but the Grift King was right in front of us this whole time.

Naturally, this public servant has brought a viper's nest of conflicts-of-interest and ethics issues into office....

...Ross has blatantly lied about whether he still owns a stock which presents a conflict of interest in his role as Commerce Secretary....

Like pretty much everyone else in this president's orbit, Ross is a wannabe oligarch using his time in putative public service to further enrich himself. He just flies under the radar because he's an old codger who's always falling asleep in public—not, say, an acting attorney general who used to peddle Big Dick Toilets.

Like Trump, Ross also has flashes of amazing incompetence. He has apparently managed to lose millions mid-grift. But more than that, he's a narcissist in the Trumpian mold: a year before he was nominated to the position, he was listed on the Forbes 400 with $2.9 billion in assets. He called up the magazine to insist he was actually worth $3.7 billion. But a year later, as part of the confirmation process when he came greasing into public life, Ross had to submit a financial disclosure form—one that listed his assets at $700 million. The magazine set about removing him from the billionaires list entirely on the basis that he is not a billionaire....

Never mind the obvious corruption this would entail. Incoming government officials should not be permitted to "transfer" funds they really still control, then pretend those assets aren't theirs. Look at what happened when the president did it!...

This is almost exactly what Trump did to ensure he could kick around the Forbes lists year after year. Except our president would call under an assumed name—John Barron—and rant about how rich Donald Trump was. Imagine how deranged you have to be to possess hundreds of millions of dollars, but still feel the need to call up strangers at a magazine and tell them you have twice as much money. Imagine how deeply you'd require the admiration of others to risk an ethics violation to lie your way onto a magazine list.

These are the people running the country. Lost souls pouring dollar bills into the bottomless pit within, hoping enough will pile up to make them feel whole. (End excerpts)

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