Commerce Secretary: Syria Bombing Was Dinner “Entertainment” At Mar-O-Lago

1600px-Jean-Leon_Gerome_Pollice_VersoWilbur_Ross_Official_PortraitThere has been considerable criticism over Trump’s description of the bombing of Syria over a dinner with Chinese President Xi where he seemed to have as much recollection of the chocolate cake as he did the decision itself. (“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.”)  That comment now looks decidedly presidential in comparison to the comment made by his dinner mate at Mar-a-Lago, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that the bombing of Syria: “It was in lieu of after-dinner entertainment.”  Even as a joke, speaking of acts of war like they are versions of the Roman games is distasteful.  Even missile strikes involve American sailors or soldiers and airman placing themselves into harm’s way.  Having them referred to as “entertainment” at a conference by a wealthy Commerce Secretary to his well-heeled friends is insulting to those who must pay the price of wars.

Ross spoke at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference in California and added “The thing was, it didn’t cost the President anything to have that entertainment,.” In actuality, it cost a bit more than a mariachi group.  Just replacing the $59 million Tomahawks missiles will exceed $60 million and that is not counting the other costs associated with the attacks. Putting aside the whole business of attacking another country without congressional authorization, attacking another country is no form of entertainment unless your dinner mates are Loki and Hades.
Clearly, Ross was making what he viewed as a humorous or perhaps a macho aside.  However, war is no trivial matter, particularly when a president acts without congressional authority.  With critics raising the danger of a president ordering attacks on an arbitrary or casual basis, Ross decided to dismiss an act on a foreign government as just so much entertainment for a party at a ritzy resort.  At a minimum, it shows a continued lack of control over messaging in this Administration and at worse a casual attitude toward some of the most serious and weighty decisions of our government.

36 thoughts on “Commerce Secretary: Syria Bombing Was Dinner “Entertainment” At Mar-O-Lago”

  1. It is both fascinating and depressing to witness how butt hurt the people that helped build this administrative state get when the state acts against their wishes. When you accept a government that will ignore the rule of law and separation of powers IN YOUR FAVOR, you have NO legitimate grounds to complain when they DON’T.

  2. What should be becoming apparent to those with eyes and ears is that this whole thing for Trump and his mutts is simply that, entertainment. Trump doesn’t know the difference between one of his ego serving TV shows and the Presidency. But hey, Americans love to be entertained. Look past the bellowing and phony bravado: caving into the Chinese, caving into the Russians, embracing Duarte, lying incessantly, sad, yugely, biggly, sad and pathetic, dangerous yet, we’ll see.

  3. The last day that he was in office Ike warned America of the danger of the Military Industrial Complex.
    Ike gets little credit. He kept us out of war. It was the Republican Party though that pasted the label of “Soft On Communism” on the Democrats. So Kennedy felt compelled to go to Vietnam. Johnson could not pull out now like his father should have. Nixon did after several years. Then it has been war ever since. There is no end to it.
    For its: One, two, three, What are we fightin for?
    Don”t ask me I don’t give a damn.
    Next stop is Viet Nam.
    And it’s five, six, seven, open up the Pearly Gates!
    Ain”t no time to wonder why…
    Whopee we”re all gonna die!

  4. People died as a result of our aggression against a country we are not at war with. No clear and strong analysis of what happened there. Tulsi Gabbard brought that up and Dean wanted to throw her out of the party. There was no clear policy gain. The Tomahawks were crap. Once again, another example of how laws are just “suggestions.” Bill Trump for the Tomahawks.

  5. I always wonder about what would happen if circumstances were reversed. What would we do if another country lobbed missiles onto our soil to “send us a message” regarding our own war crimes, or dispatched commandos to retrieve or assassinate persons who they regard as “treasonous”. While Trump may spew nonsense, he was correct about us not being so innocent.

    See also Greenwald’s article:

    1. Al O’Heem – the Mexicans attacked us prior to the Mexican-American War. The Japanese sank a warship is China prior to WWII. South Carolina bombarded Fort Sumpter to prove a point about whose land it was.

      1. So when does it all end? Are we doomed to endless war? Eternal revenge?

        1. Al O’Heem – in the entire history of mankind, there has rarely been a time when there has not warfare.

          1. Then we are indeed doomed. The “winner” will preside over a radioactive ash-heep.

            1. Al O’Heem – I have lived thru the entire Atomic Age and have not been nuked yet. 🙂 I was in Omaha when the Cuban Missile Crisis kicked off. That is where SAC was stationed. The air was full of B-52 bombers. That is when I kissed my a$$ good-bye.

              1. You are/were lucky enough to live during a time when few entities possessed the bomb and only we were the ones to actually use it in warfare. Now with proliferation of nuclear and non-nuclear weapons capable of making the planet uninhabitable, it is only a matter of time before you (or your children) will need to pucker up again.

                1. Al O’Heem – once you have kissed your a$$ goodbye once, the fear is always gone. However, I do live in a community that is an unlikely strike target. 🙂

                    1. tnash – I am going to have park the aircraft carrier in Baja if COW leaves the Union. 🙂 Or I could rent it to the government?

  6. Just be glad Clinton lost or it would have been the campus at Hillsdale….

  7. Agreed that it was somewhat unseemly for these civilians to talk about being entertained by military action. That said, I give props to Trump and his civilian administrators for knowing that – when it comes to war – the military should handle it and civilians can just sit back and watch it on the news. We’ve had too much of the LBJ, Clinton, Obama hypocrisy, whereby they use our forces as expendable puppets in their domestic politics agenda. THEY were the heartless ones. When you’re letting our fighting men and women do their jobs to the best of their ability and providing them with the support they need; by all means: sit back and have a cappuccino! But when you send our boys into enemy territory, then tie their hands, wag your finger and tsk tsk in the camera at the “horrors” of war: THAT IS UNFORGIVABLE! Read McMaster’s book on Nam (Dereliction of Duty) and you will be enlightened!

    1. Umm, Debbie. The military is run by civilians. Check out that oath and the Constitution!

    2. Bosnian War veteran here. Putting the military in charge of the nation is a terrible, stupid idea. Suggesting that civilians should have no voice in whether or how we go to war is an affront to the values I defended. You may as well spit on me and wipe yourself with the Constitution.

      Change your attitude and show some respect for Americans and the American Way.

  8. Thank you Justice Holmes and Darren Smith. I hope everybody understands the sarcasm of the song. Afraid after reading some of the posts on this blog there are many that won’t. No Justice, these chickenhawks have no moral, no ethics, no conscience and no shame. I’d like to take every damn one of them to that black wall in DC and slam their faces into it. I know some of the names on that Wall. I’d like to introduce them to many of my friends, Marines, army and air force alike but they are dead. Poisoned by that damn Agent Orange. This chickenshit coward has never seen the the face of a real enemy, never been shot at, same as the pretender coward trump. Just another spoiled rich brat that doesn’t care when people die..

    Sago Mine disaster:The Sago Mine disaster was a 2006 explosion in a coal mine indirectly owned by International Coal Group that led to the deaths of 12 miners. Following the disaster, the New York Post’s Roddy Boyd reported that Ross “had been intimately involved with the company that owned the West Virginia mine where 12 miners perished — and he knew all about its safety problems, former executives charged.” The article also reported that the mine had 12 roof collapses in 2005, and that the U.S. Department of Labor data showed 208 citations for safety violations in that same period, including 21 times for build-up of toxic gasses.

    I’ll close with this because frankly I’m too angry at that idiot to continue.

    “To save your world you asked this man to die. Would this man, could he see you now, ask why?” W.H. Auden “Epitaph for an Unknown Soldier”


    USMC Sgt-Vietnam 1966/67
    Vietnam Veterans Against the War

      1. Debbie Barnhart – the following is from the same man who said war is hell.

        “These men flocked to the plains, and were rather stimulated than retarded by the danger of an Indian war. This was another potent agency in producing the result we enjoy to-day, in having in so short a time replaced the wild buffaloes by more numerous herds of tame cattle, and by substituting for the useless Indians the intelligent owners of productive farms and cattle-ranches.” William T. Sherman.

  9. My reaction was my god do these men have no morals? No conscience and no shame. Death and destruction as entertainment…..Caligula would be proud.

  10. It will cost to replace the Tomahawks, but the ones used were already paid for. It is like using the house band. He might have been boorish, but he was correct.

  11. Ross spoke at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference in California and added “The thing was, it didn’t cost the President anything to have that entertainment,.” In actuality, it cost a bit more than a mariachi group

    1. But it “cost” quite a bit less than sending in more Navy Seals and losing them! Get a grip! You’re a civilian and you don’t have a clue. Believe me, the military is pinching every penny they can (despite the politicians wrapping their tentacles around every dollar).

      1. Debbie,

        You know what wouldn’t cost anything? Stopping going to war in nations which haven’t asked us to be there and don’t want us there and, by law, we shouldn’t be there. No dollars, no lives.

        This man’s words are the words of a psychopath.

  12. After the “lesson in history”, I wonder…Also, I understand that @POTUS gave a ride on AirForce one to John Dickerson after walking off the set in the middle of the interview as he continued to peddle the discredited allegations…..The World is watching….What is also critical, though, is not per se to listen to what he says (as people as varied as John McCain and Iran’s Foreign Minister have said), butr actually what he’s doing–for now, we have a temporary reprieve on potential ravages of the budget–but when you have a budget director saying that a shut down is good for Washington, I wonder–the last shutdown cost the Government some $ 25 Billion Dollars…..

    1. Such rhetoric has profound implications–you seem not to realize it.

    2. The idea of billionaires sitting around toasting bombings is more that fodder for gossip columns. It is amoral.

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