>> Donald Trump won the White House on a promise to protect American workers. But the man he picked to lead that fight, investor Wilbur Ross, has offshored thousands of US jobs. I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington where the Wall Street titan goes before the Senate on Wednesday to be vetted for Commerce Secretary.
But my review of government documents found that Ross has offshored at least 2,700 American jobs since 2004 in textiles, auto parts and mortgage finance. That could raise awkward questions, because Trump has spent the past several months promising to punish companies that move American jobs out of the country.
Over a career spanning decades, Ross has earned accolades as a leverage buyout artist in struggling industries like steel and coal. Carving out a reputation as a big booster of US business. Like Trump, he says trade deals like NAFTA hurt the American economy. And he's lobbied for tariffs against countries like China that he says don't play fair.
Along the way, he's earned a fortune that Forbes pegs at $2.5 billion. But Ross' America First rhetoric doesn't quite square with his track record, according to Labor Department records. In one case, Ross' International Automotive Components group laid off 853 American workers as it shifted production to Mexico starting in 2007.
His international textile group offshored at least 1,268 jobs going back to 2004. When Ross created a mortgage company, Homeward Residential Holdings, it sent 596 jobs to India before he sold it in 2012. Of course, this falls in line with plenty of other textile and auto companies that have offshored work.
A trend Trump has insisted he will reverse. Ross' defenders say he also saved thousands of American jobs by turning around companies that were on the verge of collapse. But at his hearing on Wednesday, he'll likely need to explain how his America first ideas square with his decision to offshore thousands of jobs when it benefitted his bottom line.