Democratic lawmakers, Rep. Don Beyer and Paul Tonko are calling for the resignation of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross following a report that he threatened top officials for contradicting Donald Trump’s claims that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama.
Both Democrats demanded that Ross step down in statements late Monday, stating that 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.
“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 Ross’s resignation come on the heels of a New York Times report on Monday that said Ross threatened to fire top officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) after they countered Trump’s statements.
Ross reportedly phoned NOAA acting administrator Dr. Neil Jacobs on Friday and instructed him to “fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president,” three people familiar with the interaction told the New York Times.
Rick Hasen, a professor of Law and Political Science at UC Irvine also weighed in on Ross’s reported intervention, saying, “Trump Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Who Lied About His Reason for Including A Citizenship Question on the Census, Pressured NOAA Officials on Trump Misstatement about Alabama Hurricane.”
Sierra Club, the nation’s largest environmental group, also released a statement on Monday calling for Ross to step down.
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.”