The Next Ex-Cabinet Member?

The smart money had been on Dan Coats, but this Politico article makes a good case to move Wilbur Ross to #1 in the dead pool (not literally dead — politically deceased):

Constant infighting among top officials. Sudden departures of senior staffers without explanation. A leader who is disengaged and prone to falling asleep in meetings.

The Commerce Department has reached its apex of dysfunction under Wilbur Ross, according to four people with knowledge of the inner workings of the department. The 81-year-old Commerce secretary, who has for months endured whispers that he is on the outs, spends much of his time at the White House to try to retain President Donald Trump’s favor, the sources said, leaving his department adrift.

He’s hardly the only top Trump official to seek the president’s approval. But department insiders say they’ve rarely seen Commerce so rudderless — and they say Ross’ penchant for managing upward at the expense of his staff is leading to what one plugged-in observer described as “a disaster over there.”

Trump’s cabinet has higher turnover than a Burger King (not to mention lower hiring standards). But it won’t be Ross’s lousy leadership that gets him voted off the island. If Ross gets shit-canned, it’ll probably be something like this:

Ross’ relationship with the White House and with Trump was also damaged by stories that came out in the past 18 months showing that he wasn’t as rich as he had claimed…

Or maybe bungling the census heist will be the final straw. In a normal administration, Ross would have resigned in disgrace weeks ago when it was revealed that Ross’s aide and a DoJ operative lied in court and to Congress about the origins of the citizenship question. But the scale of corruption in this cabinet is so off the charts that mere perjury during the course of carrying out official business elicits yawns.

Open thread!

81 replies
  1. 1
    Jeffro says:

    the scale of corruption in this cabinet is so off the charts that mere perjury during the course of carrying out official business elicits yawns.

    Well put.

    A version of this sentence ought to lead off the ‘trumpov administration’ (gag) chapter in high school history textbooks for decades.

  2. 2
    jeffreyw says:

    Mmm… Peach Pie— jeffreyw (@imjeffreyw) July 22, 2019

  3. 3

    Honestly, I think working for Trump is sufficient proof of illegal activity we should just throw the lot of them in prison.

  4. 4
    trollhattan says:

    #1 in the dead pool (not literally dead — politically deceased)

    Maybe literal, I could easily see that jowly bastard coming out of there feet-first on a gurney.

  5. 5
    rikyrah says:

    Ross is a crook who shouldn’t have had the job in the first place.

  6. 6
    Plato says:

    Be best people.

  7. 7
    trollhattan says:

    One of the Felix Leiters has died. R.I.P. David Hedison.

    David Hedison, the US actor best known for playing Felix Leiter opposite two James Bonds, has died at the age of 92.

    He first played 007’s CIA ally in 1973’s Live and Let Die, the late Sir Roger Moore’s first Bond film. He returned to the role 16 years later to appear alongside Timothy Dalton in 1989’s Licence to Kill. He was also turned into an insect in the 1958 film The Fly and starred in 1960s submarine TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

    [Ah “The Fly”: “Help me, help meeeeee!”]

    Seven years after Live and Let Die, he appeared with Sir Roger again in the 1980 oil rig drama North Sea Hijack. The friends were reunited once more in 2007 when Hedison delivered a speech at the unveiling of Sir Roger’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. When Hedison returned to the world of James Bond for Licence To Kill, his character survived being fed to a shark by a drug lord who also murdered his new bride.

    Hedison was sanguine about his career, admitting that most films he had appeared in were “pictures you never want to see again”. He once remarked: “When I know they’ll be on TV I have a dinner party and invite my friends over so they can’t see them.”


  8. 8
    raven says:

    @jeffreyw: You is one funny dude brah! 41 and a wake up till I retire!

  9. 9
    trollhattan says:

    Technically, you can’t be in the Trump administration unless you are a crook.

  10. 10
    MattF says:

    Given that Ross is 81 and has developed a habit of falling asleep in meetings… One can argue that it’s time for him to go, even if you overlook the ‘criminality’ thing.

  11. 11
    jeffreyw says:

    Have you been seeing someone else?— jeffreyw (@imjeffreyw) July 22, 2019

  12. 12
    jeffreyw says:

    @raven: But.. you are not at all a retiring type of fellow, judging by your comments. Quite the opposite, in fact.

  13. 13
    RAVEN says:

    @jeffreyw: I’ll be interested to see how much time I spend here after. I’ve been chained to the computer for 15 years so who knows ?

  14. 14
    rikyrah says:

    Tinfoil suspicion about the Mayer article:

    Miranda Mod Kennymack1971 • an hour ago
    It just popped up and now it’s the #1 topic. It makes no sense. I’m sure Jane Mayer has been sitting on this story for AWHILE…and conveniently it’s being dropped in the middle of the DNC Debates. You can’t tell me she didn’t have this whole article ready to go a year ago. Now watch…she’s gonna make the media rounds…there will be full on panels on cable devoted to this. I half expect trump’s dumbass to weigh in – because irony is just laughing at us right now. So of course Tapper is salivating at the chance to throw this grenade.

  15. 15
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @jeffreyw: Smithers! I am really enjoying this iced cream! – Mr. Burns

  16. 16
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    One does have to pause and enjoy the spectacle of Conservative Grifter cage death matches in the Trump admin. The Trumplings need to man up and do this for real.

  17. 17
    catclub says:

    Read Michael Lewis’s book The Fifth Risk chapter about the Commerce Dept. It does lots of things. Important things! Nobody from the Trump camp cares.

  18. 18
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Roger Moore: That damn well seems to be the case.

    “What you in for – fraud or human rights violations?”. “Both!”

  19. 19
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: Pay-per-view and the in-arena audience could be from “central casting” since the bulbous, orange POS leaves in a TV world.

    This might interest you –

  20. 20
    jl says:

    I don’t think chaos and chronic sleeping in meetings makes any difference. Would Trump even notice or care? But if Trump blames Ross for the failure of the clumsy and dishonest census scam they tried to pull, then Ross is in big trouble. From what I read in the news, the Trumpsters can get the data they want using the methods recommended by the Census Bureau, and that would work just fine, and much quicker, if the Trumpsters really wanted to use it for DOJ to improve enforcement of voting rights.

    But of course, the Trumpsters want to push that data out to red state governments to fix re-apportionment. I think that they will face endless court challenges in doing that, at least I hope they do. If that route to voter suppression and stripping groups of voters of constitutionally mandated representation is blocked and delayed, then Trump will get pissed and Ross will be in more trouble.

  21. 21
    MJS says:

    @rikyrah: This will be one of the lamest “grenades”, ever. First, all the candidates have plenty of time to prepare for the question, and explain their actions at the time. And all of the candidates will have plenty of time to prepare a response that includes the names of all 20 (or however many there are) of Trump’s accusers, and throw Stormy Daniels’ name in there for good measure. An inability to handle this question during the debates, or even beforehand, will indicate an inability to do what needs to be done to beat Trump.

  22. 22
    Baud says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Trump will pardon himself and Javanka as he’s walking out the door, but not everyone who supported him will get one. We will feast upon them.

  23. 23
    Ruckus says:

    Come on!
    It might just be that Trump only hangs out with people like himself. And don’t tell me there aren’t others like him. Maybe not in every trait, but enough like him to be able to stand in the line waiting to have their portrait taken, 3 views, numbered and everything.

  24. 24
    Immanentize says:

    @Baud: There is broad consensus that a President cannot pardon himself from impeachable offenses. But so what? Who cares what people who know stuff think these days?

  25. 25
    Baud says:


    Do the Supreme Court 5 share that consensus?

  26. 26

    I’ve been thinking about Trump’s rhetoric in light of a book I’m reading, Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Harari posits that language gave homo sapiens the ability build stronger societies because it allowed them to create stories. These range from religious texts, to legal codes, to documents like the Declaration of Independence, to fairy tales and myths and other stories people hold in common. People are bound together by the way their received stories shape their behavior.

    Harari points out that the story believe in can change. During the French Revolution, the French went from believing in the Divine Right of Kings to believing in the rights of the people in a span of maybe 10 years.

    Trump is in the process of trying to change the American story. We’ve tried to tamp down racism and fear of strangers by telling ourselves we’re a nation of immigrants, by civil rights laws, by social pressure on people to curb the way they talk. That’s a hard struggle, given our history. Trump is myth making in the other direction. And you see people responding, maybe cutting loose with stuff they’ve managed to keep quiet.

    ETA: The stuff everybody knows, as Imm says.

  27. 27
    rikyrah says:


    Wonder Thee Foul-One (@Wonderbitch81) Tweeted:
    Women are allowed to say Bernie Sanders makes their skin crawl.

    They don’t have to get permission from the neck bearded edgelords of Twitter and Reddit before they state it out loud.

    Bernie wrote some creepy sex stories, so, it’s not like this is the first time I’ve heard it.

  28. 28
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    How many divisions does the Supreme Court have?

  29. 29
    Amir Khalid says:

    I think if you ask USAG Bill Barr, he will say of course President Trump can pardon himself.

  30. 30
    Immanentize says:

    Who knows? Even Nixon’s lawyers believed it. And they were the intellectual parents of the current supreme Court….

    But kids rebel!

  31. 31
    Amir Khalid says:

    For some reason, the BBC obit leaves out that David Hedison is Jodie Foster’s father-in-law.

  32. 32
    trollhattan says:

    I could see the day when Trump fires somebody for not being a crook.

    “I thought he was a good guy, but he turns out to be a loser so he’s gone.” Maybe Spicey wasn’t quick enough on the grift.

  33. 33
    lumpkin says:

    Insufficient belligerence toward Democrats and the press and failure to lie more effectively. Apparently sucking up is a necessary but not sufficient means of staying in the fool’s good graces.

  34. 34
    Baud says:


    We’ll find out in 2023.

  35. 35
    germy says:

    Every national conversation about Trump's tweets would benefit from the understanding that the White House admitted in court that social media director Dan Scavino sometimes ghostwrites them.— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) July 22, 2019

  36. 36
    wvng says:

    I still think Ross is there because he has shady connections to Russian criminals, via that Cyprus bank where he was a board member. He may “know things” about Trump.

  37. 37
    germy says:

    “Bernie Sanders makes my skin crawl, and I can’t even exactly identify for you what it is…” – Mimi Rocah— Garbage 🦍 (@GarbageApe) July 22, 2019

    "Bernie make my skin crawl, but concentration camp guards are ok!"— DSA Myg0t caucus🌹 (@Conqy) July 22, 2019

    (Mimi spends her time retweeting Josh Hawley)

  38. 38
    misterpuff says:

    Drumpf: Pardon Me.

    Drumpf: Don’t mind if I do!

  39. 39
  40. 40
    chris says:

    I need this! Home made transportation. (Via Reddit) Cuz I need to laugh once in a while.

  41. 41
    Suzanne says:

    @MattF: My God. I thought the same thing. Apart from the cravenness and immorality and sycophancy….. the man is about 300 years old. HANG IT UP, DUDE.

  42. 42
    scav says:

    All the best people! Merkan Business Genius (© GOP) unleashed and manifest in all its greatness.

  43. 43
    different-church-lady says:

    …spends much of his time at the White House to try to retain President Donald Trump’s favor…

    When are these idiots going to wake up and realize it can’t be done.

  44. 44
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Baud: I’m so old I remember when conservatives despised the ACLU because they used loopholes in the law to help obviously guilty people avoid justice. Now when Trump uses loopholes in the law to help obviously guilty people avoid justice, they are cheering.

  45. 45
    different-church-lady says:

    @jeffreyw: The pie filter works on Twitter now?

  46. 46
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Quite a bit of turnover in Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) after yesterday’s snap election. In the end the party of the new President looks to have gained an absolute majority in the 450-seat body, which is, of course, a mixed blessing, because now they have to govern and can’t blame things on anyone else. Turnout was unfortunately fairly low, but by all accounts the elections were free and fair.

    As it turns out, I personally know at least four out of those 450, well enough that I could ring them up and go for coffee or dinner next time I’m in Kyiv. All under 40, idealistic and honest. One of them came into this the old-fashioned way: she’d had no interest in politics until a few years ago, when somebody bribed someone and paved over a park in her neighborhood where she used to take her kids, so she got more and more pissed off, started handing out flyers and organizing community meetings, pestering the city government, getting more and more involved, until yesterday, she won her district (the country is divided into 225 more-or-less equal-population districts.)

    I think it may have been Timothy Snyder who a few years ago said that the future of the country is dependent on the efforts of those who don’t have a hammer and sickle on their birth certificate. Eventually we’ll see.

  47. 47

    I don’t particularly like either Bernie or concentration camp guards, but I’ll definitely take Bernie if I have to pick between them.

  48. 48
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    You know I was just being sardonic with that comment at 28, right?

  49. 49
    Jim Parish says:

    @misterpuff: I recall a cartoon from late in the Watergate era. Nixon and Ford are walking along together. Ford says. “I wish there were something I could do to help you.” Nixon: “Pardon?” Ford: “I said, I wish there were something I could do.” Nixon: “Pardon?” Ford: “I SAID,…”

  50. 50
    germy says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    As a result of Ukraine’s parliamentary elections, a comedian will have to negotiate with a pop singer to get a majority in the parliament.

    Obviously, the comic and and pop star are puppets for extremely corrupt and vicious oligarchs. But voters are do intensely dim-witted that they take these figureheads seriously.

    People get exactly the kind of government they desire and deserve, so whatever.

  51. 51
    different-church-lady says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Like I said the other day: going by years and years of the “American Story”, Trump is the most UN-American president we’ve ever had.

  52. 52
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @mrmoshpotato: es, but that show has random and above innocent people, we’re talking about Trump admin officials. All these guys picture themselves as Conan the barbarian, it would be their chance to prove it.

  53. 53

    @Millard Filmore:

    I’m so old I remember when conservatives despised the ACLU because they used loopholes in the law to help obviously guilty people avoid justice.

    The ACLU tries to help Those People evade the law. It’s not a problem when it’s one of US.

  54. 54
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:



  55. 55
    SRW1 says:


    Why does the dragon-horse wear shoes?

  56. 56
    The Moar You Know says:

    It’ll be the census thing. He had a job and he failed. President Dealmaker doesn’t like failure. It makes him look bad, like he’s a fucking orange circus clown, a staggering joke instead of a human being worthy of respect.

    Odd how President Dealmaker fails so often. I thought he was supposed to be good at making deals.

  57. 57
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @different-church-lady: Indeed, sucking up to Trump is supposed to have the opposite effect, he just gets more abusive. I guess it’s really hard for all those authoritarians to tell Trump to go stuff it.

  58. 58
    germy says:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Monday that he could win the war in Afghanistan in a week, but that he doesn’t want to kill millions of people and wipe Afghanistan “off the face of the earth.”

    He’s trying to persuade Pakistan to help get a deal with the Taliban that would end America’s longest war.

    “I could win that war in a week” but “I don’t want to kill millions of people,” Trump said.

    Afghanistan is high on Trump’s agenda as he meets with Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan. Their testy relationship may be improving. Trump says Pakistan can use its influence with the Taliban to help the U.S. “extricate” from Afghanistan.

  59. 59
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @MJS: Agreed. I think this is actually an excellent time to point out that Dems still did the right thing under very difficult circumstances, and to highlight that our current president has something like 25 more credible accusations against him. Anyone who was personally involved with Franken’s removal (Gillibrand, Harris) have an excellent chance to say something simple about it and then move onto the real problem: Trump.

  60. 60
    chris says:

    @SRW1: So it won’t hurt its little feet on the gravel of course.

  61. 61
    trollhattan says:

    I’m sure his buddy Vlad has told him a hundred times, “Is easy Donald to win Afghanistan, believe me! I show you how.”

    But, of course, Donny already did that.

  62. 62
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @germy: I’m just going to roll my eyes. It’s easily to win a war with our technology if you don’t care about civilian lives or leaving anything standing. The fact that Trump feels like he has to brag about it is really sad.

  63. 63
    Baud says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    You know I was just being sardonic with that comment at 28, right?

    Dude, I don’t even know what sardonic means.

  64. 64
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @germy: “Clarissa” is not exactly a renowned authority on Ukrainian politics.

  65. 65
    germy says:

    @Gin & Tonic: But she has a blog!

  66. 66
    trollhattan says:

    Means from a large Italian island in the Mediterranean.

  67. 67
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: The “Sluha Narodu” (Servant of the People) party is the party of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the current President, who was the star of a popular TV show by the same name. The “Holos” (Voice) party is led by Sviatoslav Vakarchuk, frontman of a very popular rock/pop group called Okean Elzy. Neither had any experience in politics prior to this year. The Zelensky party got about 43% of the at-large vote, the Vakarchuk party got about 6%. But only half the body is elected at-large, the other half is by district, so the results are a little complicated.

  68. 68
    MattF says:

    @Jim Parish: That’s like the famous ‘yellow light’ routine from Taxi.

  69. 69
    Martin says:

    @germy: Ah, so that’s Trumps plans for solving national problems:
    1) Poverty – nuke everyone until dead
    2) Climate change – nuke everyone until dead
    3) Border crisis – nuke everyone until dead
    4) College debt – nuke everyone until dead
    5) Trade imbalance – nuke everyone until dead

    So many problems, so many easy solutions.

  70. 70
    Michael Allen says:

    @catclub: They demonstrated contempt for and no interest in what most federal departments did from day one.

  71. 71
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: True. I was going more for the murder-on-TV aspect.

  72. 72
    jeffreyw says:


    The pie filter works on Twitter now?

    Yes! You need to tweak the settings to allow it, though.

  73. 73
    different-church-lady says:

    @Baud: Adjective for things originating from an island off the coast of Italy.


  74. 74
    oatler. says:

    @different-church-lady: “The favour of Princes is a slipperie Boone, lightly granted and lightly withdrawn.”
    Capt John Smith (retold by John Barth)

  75. 75
    Xenos says:

    I had a job interview with one of Ross´s fiscal paradise offshore offices. They hated me, and although I had no idea who Ross was I could tell there was something not quite legit about the people involved. What they really disliked about me was that I was too old, did not desperately need the job, was likely to think for myself and not go with the program. At least, that is what I would like to think.

    Meanwhile, Wilbur has gotten busted for the one unforgiveable crime – cheating his fellow oligarchs. He will go down, eventually. These people have a really impressive ability to nurse, and act on, a grudge.

  76. 76
    Another Scott says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Thanks for the update.

    Dare we hope that Ukraine is turning a corner? If so, dare we hope that Vlad lets it continue??


  77. 77
    Noncarborundum says:

    @trollhattan: Not a Bond fan, so I didn’t know that Hedison was involved in the franchise. But I was of exactly the right age to watch Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea during the 60’s, and I sure as hell knew who Lee Crane was. Rest in Peace, Captain Crane.

  78. 78
    joel hanes says:


    I gave a couple of those cat cups to my sister, a major cat person.
    She loves them and uses them all the time.

  79. 79
    Miss Bianca says:

    @trollhattan: The Fly! AAAGGH!! I saw that movie on TV at a friend’s house when I was about 7 – scared me so much that I was literally crawling home because my legs were shaking so badly. Never.ever.wanted to see again, so maybe that actor had a point!

  80. 80
    different-church-lady says:


    These people have a really impressive ability to nurse, and act on, a grudge.

    It’s their only ability. How they manage to monetize that, I don’t know, but it works.

  81. 81
    J R in WV says:


    Every national conversation about Trump’s tweets would benefit from the understanding that the White House admitted in court that social media director Dan Scavino sometimes ghostwrites them.— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) July 22, 2019

    Dan Scavino?? Isn’t he Trump’s caddy?

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