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 TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE is considering replacing Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossLobbying World Cummings requests interview with Census official over new allegations on citizenship question Cummings requests interview with Census official over new allegations on citizenship question 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 McMahonTrump campaign describes Corey Stewart super PAC as 'unconscionable' Pro-Trump group plans to spend 0M in six battleground states XFL signs TV deals with ESPN, Fox, ABC for 2020 launch 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.

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 SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump to kick off bid for second term in Florida The Hill's Morning Report - Trump to kick off bid for second term in Florida Sarah Sanders to leave White House MORE on Wednesday.

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 Ann WarrenSanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Warren introduces universal child care legislation MORE (Mass.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenators weigh potential security risks from Chinese-made drones Hillicon Valley: GOP senator wants one agency to run tech probes | Huawei expects to lose B in sales from US ban | Self-driving car bill faces tough road ahead | Elon Musk tweets that he 'deleted' his Twitter account Hillicon Valley: GOP senator wants one agency to run tech probes | Huawei expects to lose B in sales from US ban | Self-driving car bill faces tough road ahead | Elon Musk tweets that he 'deleted' his Twitter account MORE (Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWarren introduces universal child care legislation Warren introduces universal child care legislation Booker responds to Trump's mass deportation threat: 'This is not who we are' 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.