Vox’s Aaron Rupar posted a clip this morning of Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross talking to Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo and is insinuating that Ross linked the coronavirus outbreak in China to helping the U.S. economy:

But that’s not exactly what Ross said. Here’s the transcript, where it’s clear Ross is talking about companies analyzing the risk of putting operations in China when, as we can see currently and in the recent past, that outbreaks such as coronavirus will threaten their supply chain:

MB: “You can seriously see the Chinese economy come to a halt and given the large percentage of global growth that China commands, does that actually threaten what you’re just saying?”

WR: “Well, first of all, every American’s heart has to go out to the victims of the coronavirus. So I don’t want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease. But the fact is that it does give businesses yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain. On top of all the other things — you have SARS, you have the African swine virus there, now you have this — it’s another risk factor that people need to take into account. So I think it will help accelerate the return of jobs to North America, some to U.S., some to probably Mexico as well.”

Ross is arguing that companies have under-valued the risk of having manufacturing in China and that, after a reevaluation, more companies will move their manufacturing to more stable countries. Where’s the controversy?

And we’re already seeing reports of supply-chain problems because of the outbreak and containment measures:

What Ross is saying is that companies need to price disease outbreaks into their risk calculations of doing business in China. It’s actually a really big deal:


It’s hitting Europe, too:

Chinese stocks are down big this morning on the worry as well:

Now, here’s a better way Rupar could have covered the same clip:

But, nah. Why would a guy who works for a website that supposed to ‘splain thing actually do some ‘splaining?