Wilbur Ross denies he fell asleep during Trump's UN speech

Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossJudge rejects DOJ effort to delay House lawsuit against Barr, Ross Pelosi gets standing ovation at Kennedy Center Honors Space race is on: US can't afford congressional inaction in this critical economic sector MORE appeared to fall asleep during President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE's speech at the United Nations on Tuesday, CNBC reported.

Cameras showed the 81-year-old Cabinet secretary, who was seated among other Trump administration officials, with his head drooped and eyes closed.


CNBC reported that Ross appeared to have his eyes closed for up to 15 minutes, while other officials such as Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump greeted with cheers at 120th Army-Navy game Judge orders State Dept. to search for and provide more Ukraine docs Pompeo launches personal Twitter account amid speculation over Senate run MORE appeared to be listening intently to the president's address.

But Ross in a statement to The Hill denied that he had fallen asleep, calling the reports "fake news."

"This is fake news. I wear hearing aids and, during President Trump’s inspiring speech, which covered in detail the entire range of significant issues facing the world, I was concentrating on what was being said," Ross said.
Ross said he continued his day after the speech in meetings with officials from the United Kingdom, India and South Korea. During the General Assembly, he said he has met or plans to meet with officials from Pakistan, Poland, Egypt, Japan, Greece and Vietnam before embarking on a 12-day trip from London to Sydney.
"This is not the schedule of someone with low energy," he said.
While Ross's eyes were closed, the president discussed the country's stance on Iran and a potential trade agreement with China, according to CNBC.

Several journalists commented on Ross apparently sleeping during the speech.

It has been previously reported that the secretary "tends to fall asleep" during Commerce meetings.

A former outside adviser told Politico in July that there's a "small window where he's able to focus and pay attention and not fall asleep."

A spokesperson for the Commerce Department pushed back on that report this summer.

“Secretary Ross is a tireless worker who is the sole decision maker at the Department. He routinely works twelve hour days and travels often, with visits to seven countries and eight states in the last three months to advance the President’s agenda," the spokesperson said at the time.

Ross was also caught apparently sleeping with headphones in during the president's speech in Saudi Arabia in May 2017, CNBC reported.