Politics & Government

Commerce secretary says Syrian missile strike was ‘after-dinner entertainment’

By Brian Murphy

bmurphy@mcclatchy.com

President Donald Trump looks toward Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, left, before signing a Memorandum on Aluminum Imports and Threats to National Security, Thursday, April 27, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Trump will direct his administration to expedite a new investigation in whether aluminum imports are jeopardizing U.S. national security.
President Donald Trump looks toward Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, left, before signing a Memorandum on Aluminum Imports and Threats to National Security, Thursday, April 27, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Trump will direct his administration to expedite a new investigation in whether aluminum imports are jeopardizing U.S. national security. AP

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross described the scene at Mar-a-Lago last month when the United States fired 59 missiles into Syria in response for the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons.

President Donald Trump, who owns Mar-a-Lago, was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 6.

“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,” Ross said at the Milken Institute Global Conference on Monday, according to Variety. “It was in lieu of after-dinner entertainment.”

The crowd laughed, according to Variety.

“The thing was, it didn’t cost the president anything to have that entertainment,” Ross said.

The Milken Institute Global Conference offers to “expand your network of accomplished and influential people – 3,500 attendees from 50 countries, all senior decision-makers in their fields.”

Ross, a 79-year-old billionaire, made his fortune in private equity.

When Trump described the evening in an interview with Fox Business’ Mario Bartiromo, he, too, focused on dessert.

“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. And I was given the message from the generals that the ships were locked and loaded, what do you do?” Trump said, according to a transcript by the Washington Post.

“And we made the determination to do it, so the missiles were on the way. And I said, Mr. President, let me explain something to you. This was during dessert.”

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