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

Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossOvernight Energy: Dems subpoena Perry in impeachment inquiry | EPA to overhaul rules on lead contamination tests | Commerce staff wrote statement rebuking weather service for contradicting Trump Commerce staff drafted statement rebuking weather service for contradicting Trump's hurricane predictions US, in reversal, does not support Brazil's entry to OECD MORE appeared to fall asleep during President TrumpDonald John TrumpWHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Trump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage 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 PompeoReporter presses Pompeo on whether he met with Giuliani in Warsaw Pompeo: 'I wish the NBA would acknowledge' China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims Dem senator urges Pompeo to fire State official accused of retaliation, harassment 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.