Wilbur Ross calls Syrian airstrikes “after dinner entertainment” that “cost nothing”

Speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference on Monday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recalled the scene at Mar-a-Lago on April 6, when the summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping was interrupted by the strike on Syria.

“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. “It was in lieu of after-dinner entertainment.”

As the crowd laughed, Ross added: “The thing was, it didn’t cost the president anything to have that entertainment.” — Variety

Each of those missiles will cost roughly 1.5 million to replace. That doesn’t account for the operational costs of the mission, moving materiel into position to fire those missiles, activating staff etc.

Sure, it didn’t personally “cost” Trump anything. From his perspective, it was free marketing for the chocolate dessert at Mar-a-Lago.

But what about the cost to us? This missile/bombing cost roughly $100 million. That’s a hundred million dollars we no longer have for education, infrastructure or health-care. It was set alight to create a trans-continental fireworks show and impress Trump’s “guests”?

Are the armed-forces of the United States merely “after-dinner entertainment” for Trump and the billionaires in his cabinet who weaseled out of the draft?

And what about the countries we are bombing? During Trump’s brief tenure, we have dropped bombs on Iraq, Syria and Yemen, killing hundreds of civilians. What about the moral cost of this carnage? What about the long-term implications of a superpower dropping bombs on brown people across the Middle East as “after-dinner entertainment”?

Just a room full of rich people laughing at bombing another another country from a 200k a year private club https://t.co/XOfnss6TEWpic.twitter.com/Kqq3FzNVBs— Mazel Tov Cocktail (@AdamSerwer) May 1, 2017

If you haven’t joined the #Fightfor15, you have zero credibility on the #Fightfor400k

Over 41 million American workers make less than $15 an hour. And these workers are disproportionately women or PoC. 

Here’s who makes less than $15 an hour while working full-time:

  • Over 3.8 million Latino women, or 50% of the population
  • Over 3.4 million Black women, almost 50% of the population
  • Over 12 million White women, a third of the population
  • Almost a million Asian women, over 25% of the population
  • Over 3.5 million Latino men, over a third of the population
  • Over 2 million men Black men, that’s a third of the population
  • Over 10 million White men, almost 25% of the population
  • Almost 0.8 million Asian men, almost 20% of the population

When we include part-time workers, the stats look even worse, with roughly a half of all women workers making less than $15/hr. Low-wage workers are clustered in the retail, food-service and home care industries.

So if you’ve spent the last two days fighting for Barack Obama’s right to make $400,000 per hour for a speech, that’s great. But you damn well better spend the other 363 days of the year fighting for the 41 million American workers who need your solidarity to raise the federal minimum to a living wage.

Bobby Scott (VA) and Keith Ellison (MN) will introduce a bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 within four years. Senator Patty Murray (WA) and Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) will present an identical bill in the Senate. The Senate bill has 22 co-sponsors, including Schumer, Durbin, Blumenthal, Booker, Brown, Cantwell, Gillibrand, Feinstein, Franken, Harris, Hirono, Kaine, Leahy, Markey, Merkley, Reed, Schatz, Van Hollen, Warren, Whitehouse and Wyden.