Elizabeth Warren: 'Wilbur Ross is a cartoon stereotype of a Wall Street fat cat'

Associate Editor
Yahoo Finance
Donald Trump looks on as Wilbur Ross (left) departs after their meeting at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on 20 November 2016. (Reuters)
Donald Trump looks on as Wilbur Ross (left) departs after their meeting at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on 20 November 2016. (Reuters)

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren took to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon to criticize Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, calling him a “cartoon stereotype of a Wall Street fat cat.”

The Massachusetts senator linked to a June Forbes story detailing how Ross, who is worth an estimated $700 million, failed to divest of his fortune since becoming Commerce secretary. Divestment was a promise he made on more than one occasion: once before he took office in February 2017 and again after having submitted a statement to the Office of Government Ethics in November 2017.

On Tuesday, Forbes published a follow-up story about Ross’s business dealings, asserting that “the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history.”

‘Shady ties to Russia, serious business conflicts’

Sen. Warren has long been a critic of Ross. She led the opposition to his nomination, and in June, along with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), she called for a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into possible insider trading by Ross.

Leading into Ross’s confirmation hearing, Warren first used the “cartoon stereotype of a Wall Street fat cat” comparison in a tweet. She followed that up by calling out his “shady ties to Russia,” seemingly a reference to Ross’s stake in Navigator Holdings. Navigator is a Russian shipping firm, which connected Ross to some of Vladimir Putin’s closest allies, according to Forbes.

Upon learning of pending investigations by journalists into his ties to Navigator, Ross allegedly shorted his stock in the company, prompting the legislators’ call for the ethics investigation.

That isn’t the only Ross scandal to raise eyebrows. Other questions raised about Ross’s financial dealings include his past role as vice chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, a notorious haven for wealthy Russians, and his bankruptcy firm’s dealings with the IPO of a Chinese wind-power producer called Longyuan Power.

“That investment was made solely to curry favor with the Chinese and a big state Chinese investment fund,” one of Ross’ former colleagues told Forbes.

READ MORE: Wilbur Ross could face hefty tax bill after pledge to sell stock

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