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.This, of course, is a description of the same moment that Donald Trump described thus: "I was sitting at the table. We had finished dinner. We are now having dessert. And we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you have ever seen. And President Xi was enjoying it. And I was given the message from the generals that the ships are locked and loaded. What do you do? And we made a determination to do it. So the missiles were on the way."
"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."
What a picture. Sitting around Trump's Florida resort, eating the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake, while launching missiles as after-dinner entertainment.
Then turning it into a conversational chestnut. Laughing about how it didn't cost Trump anything to have that entertainment.
Indeed it didn't. It cost the Syrians who died their lives. It cost U.S. taxpayers the his flight to Mar-a-Lago, and his security while he was there, and the salaries and transpo and security for members of his administration, and probably that lovely cake, and the missiles that were launched, and another piece of our global reputation and attendant safety.
But all of that entertainment didn't cost Trump a thing. No, he got a lot of great press out of it. Overall, he came out ahead.
So did Wilbur Ross. He walked away with an amazing anecdote.