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    Commerce Secretary-designate Wilbur Ross returns back to the hearing room after a brief recess on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee

    Wall Street 'Vulture' Wilbur Ross Now at the Helm of US Trade

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    US investor Wilbur L. Ross joined the Trump administration Wednesday as Commerce Secretary. The businessman, who made his fortune restructuring failed companies, has also been dubbed a "Wall Street vulture." The question arises why Donald Trump, who ran as an anti-establishment politician, surrounded himself by billionaires.

    On Tuesday American billionaire investor Wilbur L. Ross was sworn in as US Commerce Secretary.

    "I am not anti-trade, I am pro-trade. But I'm pro-sensible trade, not pro-trade that is to the disadvantage of the American worker and the American manufacturing community," Ross stated at the Commerce Secretary Confirmation Hearing on January 18.

    According to Fox News, both Democratic and Republican senators "were deferential to Ross at his nearly four-hour confirmation hearing, which was much more subdued than the confirmation hearings of other Trump nominees."

    On February 27 the Senate approved Ross' nomination as US President Donald Trump's Secretary of Commerce by a vote of 72-27. The billionaire investor drew votes from 19 Democrats and one independent, Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, as well as 51 Republicans.

    "I believe his extensive management experience in the private sector, and his understanding of the challenges faced by workers and businesses alike, will equip him well for the job of leading the Department of Commerce," Chairman of the Commerce Committee Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. said, as quoted by the media outlet.

    Predictably, the US President's political opponents have not missed a chance to attack Trump's nominee and routinely accuse him of having "shady ties to Russia."

    ​"@CommerceGov nominee Wilbur Ross is practically a cartoon stereotype of a Wall Street fat cat with no interest in anyone but himself," Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted Monday.

    ​"Wilbur Ross has shady ties to Russia, serious business conflicts, & a history of cheating people out of their homes," she claimed, calling upon her party comrades to vote against Ross.

    U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R) swears in Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce as his wife Hilary watches, in Washington, DC, U.S. February 28, 2017
    © REUTERS/ Joshua Roberts
    U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R) swears in Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce as his wife Hilary watches, in Washington, DC, U.S. February 28, 2017

    Ross, a former Democrat, was a banker keen on restructuring failed companies in industries such as steel, coal, telecommunications, foreign investment and textile manufacturing.

    In February 2017, Forbes magazine listed him as number 232 among the world's top 400 billionaires, with a net worth of $2.5 billion.

    Michela Tindera of Forbes reported that back in 1976, Ross joined Rothschild Inc. as a bankruptcy specialist.

    "Over the next 24 years he works to reorganize the likes of Texaco, Drexel Burnham Lambert, Public Service of New Hampshire, Eastern Air Lines and in 1991 Donald Trump's Atlantic City casino the Taj Mahal, earning Ross the nickname the 'king of bankruptcy'," Tindera wrote.

    She quoted Trump as saying in 1991, after Ross forced him to give up 50% of his stake in the casino simultaneously allowing him to get better terms on the debt: "I think (Ross) is very talented, a fantastic negotiator, and I think he represented the stockholders strongly, honestly and unbelievably competently."

    In 1997 Ross launched his own provide equity fund at Rothschild and three years later he had managed to found his own private firm: WL Ross & Co. Over the next twenty years Ross has been steadily increasing his wealth.

    While being a successful businessman, Ross has been denounced as a "vulture investor" for taking advantage of weak companies while cutting jobs and pensions for his own benefit, Forbes' reporter Chase Peterson-Withorn remarked.

    The 79-year-old investor billionaire served as an economic policy adviser to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, whom he has known for over 20 years.

    However, citing Federal Election Commission data, Peterson-Withorn called attention to the fact that at first Ross supported Republican Senator Marco Rubio's bid for presidency.

    Ross shifted his focus to Trump by providing $200,000 to the Trump Victory Fund only in July, 2016.

    Still it looks rather strange that Trump, who positioned himself as an anti-establishment candidate, has surrounded himself by billionaires and Wall Street plutocrats.

    "Trump's proposed cabinet has a net worth of more than $6 billion. Ross is by far the richest, worth $2.9 billion," Max Abelson of Bloomberg noted in late January.

    Abelson believes that while Ross is expected to deliver on promises given by Trump to America's working class, he "would have the means to continue rewarding the Establishment" as well.

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    Tags:
    US establishment, billionaire, Rothschild Investment Company, US Commerce Department, U.S. Department of State, Wilbur Ross, Marco Rubio, Elizabeth Warren, Donald Trump, United States, Russia
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