President Donald Trump has soured on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, according to Axios.
Trump reportedly criticized 80-year-old Ross for falling asleep during meetings.
Ross is no longer the lead negotiator in trade talks with China, the report said.
President Donald Trump has lost faith in Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, criticizing Ross for falling asleep during meetings and saying he has "lost a step," according to an Axios report on Sunday.
"Wilbur has lost his step," Trump told an Axios source, according to the news outlet, which added that Trump shook his head "in resignation."
"Actually, he's probably lost a lot of steps."
Trump reportedly told the source that Ross, who turned 80 in November, "is good until about 11 a.m."
Wilbur Ross's time as Commerce Secretary
Wilbur Ross's time as Commerce Secretary
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross speaks to the Economic Club of New York in New York City, U.S., October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross stands behind U.S. President Donald Trump, who speaks at the Minority Enterprise Development Week White House awards ceremony, at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Defense Secretary James Mattis listen as U.S. President Donald Trump meets with members of his cabinet at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross speaks next to U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad during a bilateral meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang at the Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound in Beijing, China, September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Andy Wong/Pool
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross shakes hands with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang before a bilateral meeting at the Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound in Beijing, China, September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Andy Wong/Pool
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (3rd R) and Vice President Mike Pence (2nd R) join U.S. President Donald Trump (not pictured) for an event highlighting emerging technologies, in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross testifies before a House Appropriations Subcommittee about the newly released 2018 budget on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross speaks next to Press Secretary Sean Spicer about new tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber from the White House in Washington, U.S. April 25, 2017.REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is welcomed by Japan's Minister of Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko at the start of their talks in Tokyo, Japan April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R) swears in Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce as his wife Hilary watches, in Washington, DC, U.S. February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Wilbur Ross speaks, as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence watches, after being sworn in as Secretary of Commerce in Washington, DC, U.S. February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, chairman of Invesco Ltd subsidiary WL Ross & Co, departs Trump Tower after a meeting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in New York, U.S., November 29, 2016. Picture taken November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
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The president initially touted Ross as one of his most coveted Cabinet members because of his extensive Wall Street experience. But Trump has apparently been disappointed in Ross's inability to negotiate trade deals with China, and recently allowed US trade representative Robert Lighthizer to take the lead on trade talks, according to Axios.
Trump reportedly berated and humiliated Ross in meetings when the transition to Lighthizer's stewardship began six months ago.
"These trade deals, they're terrible," Trump reportedly said at the time, a source who was in the room told Axios. "Your understanding of trade is terrible. Your deals are no good. No good."
The White House denied that Ross is no longer in the president's good graces.
"Secretary Ross is leading the administration's approach on steel, aluminum, intellectual property and trade," White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement. "Far from souring on his performance, since taking office, the President has expanded his responsibilities."