Cerabino: Palm Beach oligarch’s guide to Trump’s Cabinet, from A to Zzzz

Jan 25, 2018
Secretary Wilbur Ross wears special glasses to view the solar eclipse at the White House on August 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

I will be holding interviews for the next U.S. secretary of commerce.

Interested Palm Beach oligarchs need to contact me as soon as possible to set up a time when we can meet in the Boynton Beach Mall for your interview.

I’m doing this because the current secretary, Palm Beacher Wilbur Ross, may be on thin ice in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet.

“Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ propensity for falling asleep at meetings is not helping his standing in the eyes of President Trump, who is already frustrated with the 80-year-old over ‘no good,’ ‘terrible’ trade deals,” Axios reports.

Ross is prone to napping at any meeting after 11 in the morning, the story says.

He famously napped, in an open-mouth, head-drooping fashion, among the dignitaries watching a President Trump speech last year in Saudi Arabia.

Eliana Johnson, the White House reporter for Politico, said the ability of Ross to doze on the job has not gone unnoticed.

“A source I had contacted about something more important responded that not only has Wilbur Ross fallen asleep at every meeting he’s been in with source, but that he drools — and uses his tie to clean it up.”

Oh, no. Not a drooler!

And using a necktie as a drool sponge? That’s a baby step above turning your pants pockets into booger vaults.

So I can see why Trump might be looking for a new commerce secretary.

And clearly, there must be a slew of other old, Republican Palm Beachers who are qualified. Certainly, as much as Ross.

He was a Wall Street banker whose private equity business became mired in lawsuits filed by former employees and members of the company’s leadership team. And then there was the Securities and Exchange Commission, which collected a $2.3 million fine against WL Ross & Co., and the return of $11.8 million in fees to investors.

So Ross was ready for an upgrade to the Trump Cabinet.

And Trump probably picked Ross because since 2004, he has been listed on Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 richest Americans. Ross came in at No. 232 on the 2016 list with a net worth of $2.9 billion.

But it turned out that was sketchy too. A year later, Forbes yanked Ross from the list, claiming that $2 billion of the net worth he claimed was imaginary.

“After one month of digging, Forbes is confident it has found the answer: That money never existed,” the magazine wrote last month. “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.

“In addition to just padding his ego, Ross’ machinations helped bolster his standing in a way that translated into business opportunities,” the story said.

Like that opportunity to invest in a shipping company with ties to a U.S.-sanctioned Russian businessman and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law.

OK, that’s also not a problem in a Trump administration.

But a billionaire-turned-millionaire nodding off at a meeting? Now, that’s serious. With or without the mouth secretions.

Especially since one of the prime duties of a Trump Cabinet member is to be summoned to a large conference room, where you sit in a big circle and wait for your turn to tell the president how marvelous he’s doing.

What if during the next mandatory suck-up session, Ross nods off while waiting for his turn to praise?

It wouldn’t look right having, say, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos deliver an elbow to Ross, maybe launching the drool, and thereby complicating the necktie cleanup before Ross would speak.

So in the event of Ross’ sudden resignation, I am lining up suitable replacements.

And the interview process will be weighted heavily toward the main qualification of the job: The ability to stay awake during the day while in a seated position.

This is why applicants will meet me at the Boynton Beach Mall.

It’s a haven for sleeping old men. You can almost feel the slumber in the air there.

Somewhere wives are shopping in the stores, while on the concourse old men are logging telethon levels of unintentional sit-down sleep.

The actual questioning part of the interview will be brief: Are you really a billionaire? Did you vote for Trump? Have you paid up your membership dues at Mar-a-Lago?

Then applicants for the next U.S. commerce secretary will be seated next to each other on a mall bench.

Last one to stay awake gets the job.