President-elect Donald Trump is expected to choose billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, Jr., as the next Secretary of the Department of Commerce.
Two of the Trump transition team’s senior level members told ABC News that Trump will select the billionaire, one of Trump’s very earliest supporters within the business community, having endorsed him in March. He also served as one of Trump’s economic advisers during the campaign.
The 78 year old Ross is the chairman and chief strategist of the private equity firm W.L. Ross & Co. He is known as the ‘King of Bankruptcy,’ having made his fortune by buying and restructuring companies within the manufacturing and steel industries. Many find him to be the perfect fit with the President-elect who critics consider to be a different kind of king of bankruptcy because of the multiple filings that his companies have declared over the years which were often on display during the presidential campaign.
Trump and the billionaire investor met on Sunday at which time Trump hinted at his decision, saying, “Commerce Secretary, that’s what we’re looking for,” as he gestured to Ross. The move would place a billionaire known for buying up failed companies in charge of the agency tasked with cultivating economic growth.
At the same time, his company’s work in the steel industry has raised the billionaire investor’s profile in the Rust Belt, the region in the country that is in essence the reason Trump won the presidency. Ross is considered a savior for steelworkers, willing to risk his money to save thousands of jobs. Still, for almost all others, he has been a vulture who cut jobs and pensions and forced pain on a once proud industry.
The transition team’s official position is that the businessman turned politician has not made a decision about the position. Mr. Ross also declined to comment on the matter.