In recent weeks, President Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross has come under fire in the press for apparent inaccuracies and omissions in his financial disclosure forms with the Senate. Forbes rang the first alarm bell in mid-October when the magazine determined the investor-turned-cabinet official had reportedly left $2 billion off of his disclosure forms. Ross denied the accusations, of course, just as he later denied a New York Times report claiming he retrained investments in a shipping company with financial ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. The latter story, he claimed, was “evil.”
Ross’s rebuttals notwithstanding, Forbes pressed on and revealed Tuesday morning that the commerce secretary’s “missing,” possibly Russia-affiliated billions were in actually nonexistent. “That money never existed,” the magazine’s Dan Alexander writes. “It seems clear that Ross lied to us, the latest in an apparent sequence of fibs, exaggerations, omissions, fabrications and whoppers that have been going on with Forbes since 2004.” For “after one month of digging,” Alexander and his colleagues have determined Ross’s assets actually total $700 million — as opposed to previous numbers of $2.9 billion and $3.7 billion that were reported for the annual “The Forbes 400” ranking of the 400 wealthiest persons in the United States.
“Wilbur doesn’t have an issue with bending the truth,” David Wax, a colleague of 25 years to the commerce secretary, told Forbes. Another former coworker who chose to remain anonymous put it far more succintly: “He’s lied to a lot of people.” Considering the president’s known penchant for exaggerating (or outright ignorning) the truth, it seems Ross may be a good fit for the current White House.