Some White House officials expect the Cabinet secretary, who has known the president for years, to depart as soon as this summer.
By Hans Nichols, Kayla Tausche, CNBC and Hallie Jackson
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has told aides and allies that he is considering removing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross after a stinging Supreme Court defeat on adding a citizenship question to the census, according to multiple people familiar with the conversations. While Trump has previously expressed frustration with the 81-year-old Ross, in particular over failed trade negotiations, Ross's long personal relationship with the president has allowed him to keep his job. And after the departure of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, the Cabinet’s only Hispanic who resigned on Friday amid questions about his role in a controversial 2008 plea agreement with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Ross may yet receive another reprieve. But some White House officials expect Ross to be the next Cabinet secretary to depart, possibly as soon as this summer, according to advisers and officials. Frustrated by Ross' leadership of the Census Bureau, which is within the Commerce Department, Trump has been making calls to allies outside the White House musing about replacing Ross. The White House declined comment. Ross is one of the original members of a Cabinet that has seen historically high turnover, but his exit would mark the first departure of an agency head that Trump knew well before entering politics. Trump and Ross met — and bonded — through Trump's Atlantic City casino hotel bankruptcies in the 1990s, with Ross representing some of Trump's creditors. For more than 25 years, the two socialized across marriages and states, with both owning nearby residences in Manhattan and Palm Beach. In June of 2016, Ross, a registered Democrat, endorsed Trump for president, saying, "We need a more radical, new approach to government." On election night, Trump promised to recruit only the "best and brightest" to serve in his administration, but he has soured on much of his Cabinet. He called his former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "dumb as a rock," compared his former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to "Mr. Magoo," and declared that former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was "not too good" at his job.