United States Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross took the stage on CNBC Friday morning to sell the president’s plan to impose import tariffs on steel and aluminum.
While on set, the 80-year-old billionaire deployed a prop to get this point across, brandishing a can of Campbells soup.
“In the can of Campbell’s soup, there’s about 2.6 cents — 2.6 pennies — worth of steel. So if that goes up by 25 percent, that’s about six-tenths of one cent on the price of the can of Campbell’s soup,” said Ross.
“I just bought this can today at a 7-Eleven … and the price was $1.99. So who in the world is going to be too bothered by six-tenths of a cent?”
Trump’s surprise announcement of the new tariffs is a campaign promise kept, but also sent the markets tumbling. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off more than 400 pounds Thursday and looks certain to end Friday several hundred points in the red as well.
Ross, a billionaire who struck it rich buying distressed coals and steal assets, did a similar dance with a can of Coke to make the same point about aluminum.
“There’s about 1 ton of steel in a car,” he said. “The price of a ton of steel is $700 or so, so 25 percent on that would be one half of 1 percent price increase on the typical $35,000 car. So it’s no big deal.”
The moment came in for rich mockery online, with Blue Check Internet unable to resist mocking the elderly man with the Campbell’s soup can.
— Jim Swift (@JSwiftTWS) March 2, 2018
Putting an elderly billionaire on television to mock the idea of people worrying about food prices seems like a questionable strategy. https://t.co/W1DKzreb3o
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) March 2, 2018
It only raises the price of a car by $175. Just crumbs! https://t.co/4mQcRCteSI
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) March 2, 2018
This is a real picture of Wilbur Ross holding up cans. It has not been photoshopped pic.twitter.com/BcSNLk1CXN
— Michael Cohen (@speechboy71) March 2, 2018
US commerce minister Wilbur Ross takes time from busy social calendar to extol tinned poultry flavored glop for hungry peasants. pic.twitter.com/oGWngRkQCt
— DPRK News Service (@DPRK_News) March 2, 2018
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross supports trade tariffs on Funko Pop figures: "I mean, look at this crap. None of them even look like the actual characters!" pic.twitter.com/FTiKPz2GNN
— neontaster ???? (@neontaster) March 2, 2018
Even conditional on Well It’s The Trump Administration, I would not have put my money on “Wilbur Ross defends tariffs by posing with a Bud tallboy.”#NotTheOnion #NotPhotoShopped pic.twitter.com/RKVeVNLHLD
— Matt Glassman (@MattGlassman312) March 2, 2018
Wilbur Ross eats breakfast of totally normal U.S. American pic.twitter.com/o2Kho5FLwK
— Ben Taub (@bentaub91) March 2, 2018