Wilbur Ross Called The Syria Missile Strike Trump's "After-Dinner Entertainment"
It will not be the first mischaracterization of the Trump Administration's missile strike on Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons in the country's ongoing civil war — Brian Williams saw to that — but this could be even worse. Williams, now an MSBNC host, had made headlines for characterizing the missile strike as a sight of "beauty" when in fact they're designed to take human lives, innocent or not. But his slip up will soon seem like nothing when you consider what Trump's Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross called the Syria missile strike.
While speaking on Monday at an economics conference in Beverly Hills, California, Ross recalled the evening in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, where Trump and the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, were having dinner. That was the exact moment the Navy ships in the Mediterranean would launch the Tomahawk cruise missiles, and according to Variety, Ross explained to the audience that this amounted to "after-dinner entertainment" for the president:
Just as dessert was being served, the president explained to Mr. Xi he had something he wanted to tell him, which was the launching of 59 missiles into Syria. It was in lieu of after-dinner entertainment.
Variety noted that the audience then laughed. Ross didn't leave it at that, though. He went on to say, "The thing was, it didn’t cost the president anything to have that entertainment." Of course, it did cost taxpayers upwards of $60 million and killed people on the ground.
This is not far from Trump's own telling of how the evening progressed. He focused more on the dessert itself, though. "I was sitting at the table. We had finished dinner. We're now having dessert. And we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you've ever seen and President Xi was enjoying it," Trump told Fox Business News last month. According to Trump's version, he then shared the news about the strike, and Xi continued to eat his cake. "And he was silent," Trump added.
So given the inappropriate tone of Trump's version of events, it's not hard to believe that his billionaire commerce secretary with no experience in government would make such an inappropriate joke.
Perhaps Trump was at a loss of options to entertain the Chinese head of state. Unlike Trump, and many of his other guests, Xi does not play golf, at least openly. Instead of always turning to the golf course, Trump must work on his hosting and entertaining abilities — striking another country with missiles definitely doesn't count.