Democrats call for Ross to resign for reportedly threatening to fire officials

Two Democratic lawmakers are calling for Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis Ross2020 census to run ads on 'Premio lo Nuestro' Can the US slap tariffs on auto imports? Not anymore On The Money: Slowing economy complicates 2020 message for Trump | Tech confronts growing impact of coronavirus | Manufacturing rises after five-month contraction MORE's resignation following a report that he threatened top officials for contradicting President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE's claims Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama.

Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Paul TonkoPaul David TonkoOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — White House to request emergency coronavirus funds | Trump backs off plan to house virus patients in Alabama | Court sides with Trump in family planning case On The Money: Dow drops over 1,000 points on coronavirus fears | Trump asserts outbreak 'under control' as stocks plunge | White House to seek emergency funds | Housing advocates decry Trump budget cuts The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders steamrolls to South Carolina primary, Super Tuesday MORE (D-N.Y.) demanded the secretary step down in statements late Monday, saying Ross's reported threats were "an embarrassing new low."

"Wilbur Ross does not deserve the trust of the American people or a place in the Cabinet and he should be dismissed immediately," Beyer wrote.

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"Reporting now suggests that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross put the safety of countless Americans at risk by compromising America’s hurricane warning system just to protect the President’s ego. If these reports are true, Secretary Ross needs to take responsibility and resign," Tonko wrote.

The calls for resignation follow a New York Times report Monday that said Ross threatened to fire top officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration after they countered Trump's statements.

The nation's largest environmental group, the Sierra Club, also called for Ross's ousting Monday.

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in a statement that Ross needs to resign to "maintain the dignity of the federal government."

"His actions, on behalf of Donald Trump, threatened to instill panic simply to give cover for Trump," the statement read. "Obviously, this shameless abuse of power could have devastating results now and in the future, demonstrating that Ross is unfit to continue in the cabinet and that he does not care that he is supposed to represent the American public above Trump’s fragile ego."

A spokesperson for the Commerce Department denies the New York Times' reporting.

"The New York Times story is false. Secretary Ross did not threaten to fire any NOAA staff over forecasting and public statements about Hurricane Dorian," the spokesperson said.