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The Hill: Democrats call for Ross to resign for reportedly threatening to fire officials

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Washington, September 10, 2019 | comments
Democrats call for Ross to resign for reportedly threatening to fire officials

BY MIRANDA GREEN AND JUSTINE COLEMAN - 09/10/2019

Two Democratic lawmakers are calling for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross's resignation following a report that he threatened top officials for contradicting President Trump's claims Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama.

Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) demanded the secretary step down in statements late Monday, saying 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 resignation follow a New York Times report Monday that said Ross threatened to fire top officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration after they countered Trump's statements.

The nation's largest environmental group, the Sierra Club, also called for Ross's ousting Monday.

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."

A spokesperson for the Commerce Department denies the New York Times' reporting.

"The New York Times story is false. Secretary Ross did not threaten to fire any NOAA staff over forecasting and public statements about Hurricane Dorian," the spokesperson said.

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