What Trump’s Covid-19 tsar, Peter Navarro, lacks in expertise, he invents

What Trump’s Covid-19 tsar, Peter Navarro, lacks in expertise, he invents

The Guardian reports:

The rise of Peter Navarro – the man put in charge of marshalling emergency US production of medical equipment in the midst of a pandemic – is in many ways a classic story of the Trump era.

The 70-year-old White House trade adviser was first recruited by Trump because he wrote a string of books about the Chinese strategic threat – one called Death by China – despite having spent almost no time in the country and having no grasp of the language.

Five of Navarro’s books cited a China hand with a particularly pithy turn of phrase called Ron Vara, who turned out not to exist. The name is an anagram of Navarro and the imaginary expert operated as an alter ego, confirming the author’s views.

Navarro made headlines in the past week by challenging Dr Anthony Fauci – the nation’s leading immunologist and the public face of the US scientific community’s race to contain Covid-19 – in a showdown in the White House situation room over the merits of an experimental drug.

When asked later why he thought he was qualified to start recommending pharmaceuticals to the nation, Navarro replied: “My qualifications in terms of looking at the science is that I’m a social scientist. I have a PhD. And I understand how to read statistical studies, whether it’s in medicine, the law, economics or whatever.”

People who have worked closely with Navarro agree he is undoubtedly bright. He holds a PhD in economics from Harvard. But there is nothing in his career to date that suggests he has the credentials or experience to manage the state intervention necessary to steer US industry towards producing the masks, gowns, ventilators and other life-saving supplies the country will need over the course of this pandemic.

Before coming to the White House, Navarro was a west coast academic economist with views on trade far outside the American mainstream and a failed political career behind him, have lost five elections and won none in his adoptive home town of San Diego.

His former campaign adviser, Larry Remer, said: “I wouldn’t trust him to go out to get lunch and come back with everybody’s sandwich and drink order correctly. I don’t know how he could be put in charge of logistics.

“On one level it’s amusing but on another level, it’s really dangerous,” added Remer, a San Diego political consultant. [Continue reading…]

Comments are closed.