- The Washington Times - Monday, July 22, 2019

A new report released Monday found that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is falling asleep in meetings, and is one of many reasons that the department is being described as a “disaster.”

Four people with knowledge of the department’s inner workings said Mr. Ross — who has been rumored to be on the outs with President Trump for months — spends most of his time staying in the president’s graces, which has left the Commerce department in disarray, according to Politico.

Mr. Ross condemned the story, tweeting the report “bears no resemblance to reality and appears to be solely sourced from disgruntled former employees whose poor performance led to their departures.”

Politico, however, said that when Mr. Ross does go to the department, he reportedly does not hold regular meetings with his senior staffers, with one source attributing it to his inability to stay awake.

“He tends to fall asleep in meetings, they try not to put him in a position where that could happen so they’re very careful and conscious about how they schedule certain meetings. There’s a small window where he’s able to focus and pay attention and not fall asleep,” an unnamed former outside adviser said.

Mr. Ross is allegedly not engaged with his employees and the lack of encouragement and drive has hampered progress.

“He’s sort of seen as kind of irrelevant. The morale is very low there because there’s not a lot of confidence in the secretary,” a former outside adviser still in contact with Commerce Department employees “He’s not respected in the building.”

Commerce press secretary Kevin Manning denied the reports, saying Mr. Ross holds “long” and frequent afternoon meetings.

“Secretary Ross is a tireless worker who is the sole decision-maker at the department. He routinely works 12-hour days and travels often, with visits to seven countries and eight states in the last three months to advance the president’s agenda,” he said.

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