Trump mulls replacing Commerce chief Ross by end of year: reports

Trump mulls replacing Commerce chief Ross by end of year: reports
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE is considering replacing Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossCensus Bureau intends to wrap up count on Oct. 5 despite judge's order Trump admin asks Supreme Court to fast-track excluding people in U.S. illegally from census Trump 'very happy' to allow TikTok to operate in US if security concerns resolved MORE by the end of the year, according to two media reports.

Trump is reportedly seeking to replace Ross with either Small Business Administration chief Linda McMahonLinda Marie McMahonApril's dumbest and most dangerous coronavirus declarations Trump convenes sports commissioners in hopes of filling stadiums Senate confirms Trump pick for small business chief MORE or Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) President Ray Washburne, according to a Friday report from CNBC.

Politico first reported Thursday that Trump was seeking to replace Ross with McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment who’s been friends with Trump for decades. She currently manages the federal agency designed to bolster financing for small businesses.

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Washburne, a prominent Dallas investor and top Republican Party fundraiser, currently leads OPIC, which helps U.S. firms invest in overseas projects meant to bolster U.S. economic and national security.

A SBA spokeswomen did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

An OPIC spokesman said “Mr. Washburne remains focused on implementing the BUILD Act and launching the new US Development Finance Corporation," a revamp of the agency enacted in September. 

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNBC that there were "No personnel announcements at this time.”

Trump has said he plans to replace several members of his Cabinet following the midterm elections, and dismissed Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRoy Moore sues Alabama over COVID-19 restrictions GOP set to release controversial Biden report Trump's policies on refugees are as simple as ABCs MORE on Wednesday.

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While Ross was of Trump’s earliest supporters, the president has reportedly soured on the Commerce chief. Trump has privately mocked Ross’s age, according to several media reports, and claimed he’s lost his edge as a dealmaker.

Ross has also been inundated with ethics complaints regarding official meetings he held with companies in which he invested. The secretary is under fire for meeting with top executives from Chevron, Boeing, and Greenbrier on issues before the Commerce Department while still holding stakes in those firms.

Democratic Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren won't meet with Barrett, calling Trump's nomination an 'illegitimate power grab' The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's tax bombshell | More election drama in Pennsylvania | Trump makes up ground in new polls New Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments MORE (Mass.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate Senate Democrats want to avoid Kavanaugh 2.0 Manchin opposes adding justices to the court MORE (Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWarren won't meet with Barrett, calling Trump's nomination an 'illegitimate power grab' Schumer won't meet with Trump's Supreme Court pick This week: Senate kicks off Supreme Court fight MORE (N.J.) on Friday asked the Commerce Department’s top ethics official for information regarding Ross’ meetings with those firms.

“Secretary Ross's decisions to meet with senior Chevron, Boeing, and Greenbrier officials while maintaining his investments in those companies raises questions about his compliance with federal conflict of interest criminal statutes,” the senators wrote.

Updated at 4:29 p.m.