Peter Navarro, Former Assistant to President Trump
5 Nov 2021
BUCK: We are joined by Peter Navarro. He’s a former assistant to President Donald Trump. He is the author of In Trump Time: A Journal of America’s Plague Year, out now. Navarro serves as director of trade and national production act policy coordinator inside the Trump White House. Peter, thanks for being with us.
NAVARRO: Clay and Buck, couldn’t be more delighted to be here. In Trump Time, by the way, is an expression I coined early in the administration. I’d be sitting around with these bureaucrats, and they’d be hemming and hawing. I’d go, “No, no, no, no. We’re getting this done in Trump time,” which means as soon as possible. That was kind of the business sense and ethics that Donald John Trump brought to Washington, and we did get a few things done.
BUCK: We want to get back to that in a second. I did, though, Peter, if I could, want to get your sense as somebody who was director of trade and manufacturing policy in the previous White House to weigh in on what the heck is going on right now? We’ve got all these supply chain issues. People are seeing empty shelves; we’re seeing prices go way up. How is this happening, and what is the Biden administration responsible for, what are they not?
NAVARRO: Well, what you’re not seeing is anything on Capitol Hill in those frivolous spending bills that would fix it. What I focused on with the Boss was “buy American, hire American,” bringing our factories back home and the supply chains would follow. That gives you resilient supply chains. What we have now is just the opposite: fragile and broken supply chains. And it’s basically attributable in many ways to the pandemic shock.
You could see this stuff coming, and what I’m worried about is not just the inflation that’s coming, but also the “stag” part of that equation. You know, if you got a computer chip that you got get from China over to Detroit and it’s held up and you start holding up production, worker productivity goes down, right? That drives up effective wage inflation in a bad way ’cause workers aren’t making it anymore.
And, in the meantime, the economy slows down ’cause you can’t get the cars after the assembly line. What we need to do — and what the Biden regime is incapable of understanding — is secure our supply chains here, focus on it. The idea that Department of Transportation secretary would be sitting at home leaning in a recliner for two months while the worst supply chain crisis emerged ever is abominable.
So a lot of this is leadership. When I was in the White House and the pandemic hit, I went from 24/7 to 48/7. It was just crazy. You stay on the shift; you get your job done. So they need to focus on the problem rather than to blame everybody else for it.
CLAY: I think that’s such a good point. Peter Navarro with us right now. If you or any other person working for Donald Trump walked in and said, “Hey, my wife just had a baby; I’m gonna be out for the next two months staying home on maternity leave,” what do you think his answer would have been?
NAVARRO: (laughing) The Boss would say, “Yeah, have a good time and we’ll see you later,” and there would have been somebody else in that job — In Trump Time — which is to say quickly. Now, look, I never was a Buttigieg fan. I always thought he was kind of goofy and ethereal. But to have such poor judgment? The first three years of the administration, I was the lead on trade and manufacturing in things like China tariffs and things like that, steel and aluminum tariffs.
When the pandemic hit, I had to change into what effectively was the quartermaster in the war against the pandemic. It wasn’t my skill set. That was the mission. That’s what the In Trump Time book is about, how we grapple with that. But it was all hands on deck. I’m telling you guys this supply chain crisis and this labored that we’re facing… I’m a macroeconomist.
I’ve never seen anything like this in my lifetime, and I got a few clicks on me. Unless we commit to bringing our supply chains home. The other thing, the universal vaccination policy… Look, I think it’s insane. I’m not anti-vax. I was one of the guys who helped create the vaccine. But even if you support that universal vax policy, you have to acknowledge the labor market and economic consequences.
When a significant fraction of your longshoremen, food processors, truckers — not to mention police, fire, and Navy SEALs — are getting fired or laid off because they don’t want to abide by that, at a time when you’re already facing 10 million job openings that we don’t have and a slowing economy and soaring inflation, you don’t pursue that kind of universal vax policy. And one of the key villains in the In Trump Time book is the god of lockdowns and mandates.
That’s Tony Fauci, and I’m just… I don’t know about you guys, but I faced him head on and I’m so sick of having to listen to that little twit when in fact he’s responsible for the pandemic. I prove that in the In Trump Time book. So everything’s gone wrong. We went from the best president in modern history to absolute worst. These people are clueless, and they don’t understand anything about how to solve these problems. In many ways, it’s frightening.
BUCK: Peter, I was at an event last night over 1200 people there. You know what they started chanting? “Fire Fauci.” So trust me. A lot of people recognize it. I loved every second of it. We’re speaking to Peter Navarro. (crosstalk) Hold on a second, Peter, I gotta give the plug for your book. Just a second. He’s former assistant to President Donald Trump and author of In Trump Time: A Journal of America’s Plague Year. Now, Peter, you want to jump in, go ahead.
NAVARRO: No, they actually started saying, “Fire Fauci”?
BUCK: Yeah, were yelling “Fire Fauci” when I was giving a speech. Yeah, people realize that he’s an evil, totalitarian Smurf — or at least that’s what I call him — and that he has done tremendous damage to the economy and that he is not honest with people, that he never says even the craziest restriction goes too far, and there’s enormous psychological and economic impact. And I think people are still just figuring out what it is.
NAVARRO: Yeah, yeah. (laughing) Well, the In Trump Time book should deliver the final moral blow to this guy and put him in jail because in the book I described how as early as January 2020, Fauci knew that that virus came from that Wuhan bioweapons lab and that he was likely responsible because it was he who not only funded that lab, but authorized the gain-of-function research experiments that Rand Paul talks about where you turn, like, a harmless bat virus into a human killer.
I was the only guy, really, if you think it — I remember the history — I was the only guy in the administration willing to take him on publicly, almost got fired for it once, but I knew from the moment I looked into his pretty blue eyes there that that man was pure evil. And the lie of omission to not tell us that that thing probably came from the lab and that he was responsible.
If he had told us that, guys, in January 2020, millions of people would be alive today ’cause we would have cracked down on China to release the original genome of that virus, and we could have designed a better vaccine, one much more quickly, and then that much more prepared that much more quickly. Fauci… (chuckles) The mission In Trump Time book, one of them, is to put Fauci in jail. The second one is to hold the commies, communist China accountable financially for all the harm they’ve done to us.
CLAY: I love all this, by the way. You are killing it. So from your perspective, Trump has now said, “I wish I had fired Fauci.” The problem — Buck and I talked about this earlier this week — is when Biden became president, he would have brought Fauci back, and it would have been like Fauci was a conquering hero for all the idiots out there who’ve been trying to follow all of his advice —
CLAY: Which has been bad advice very often for the economy and for the country. Once Fauci got a public profile, other than — and he’s so political now, and he’s always been political. But now he’s protected by the Democrats, he should have to resign. He’s not going to resign. How do we get Fauci out at this point?
NAVARRO: Let me tell you the inside story tell in the In Trump Time book. I actually told the Boss twice to fire Fauci. And the first time was after I came out of the Sit Room, the Situation Room, the Boss had sent me there to argue on behalf of this travel ban on China which would save millions of lives and Fauci was the guy I was fighting. I came out and went straight to the Oval and said, “Dude, this dude is dangerous. He’s toxic.”
CLAY: He was opposed to the initial China travel ban.
BUCK: Yes. Yes, he was. And it’s a great scene in the book, it’s chapter two, I go in there and there’s like I knew Mulvaney was gonna be against it. I had one of Pompeo’s hacks I would fight, see if you can get this one, the Oliver Redenbacher doppelganger, that would be Robert Redfield, the guy at the CDC. You know who I’m talking about.
But, anyway, Fauci’s there, and he’s just like Flaubert’s parrot, going, “Travel bans don’t work, travel bans don’t work.” I go, “Wait a minute, Dude,” I called him dude. It’s like you mean if 20,000 Chinese nationals a day are coming into Kennedy and LAX lit up with the Wuhan virus you want them to keep coming in? What is wrong with you?” So that’s how I first met him.
I didn’t know he walked on water, didn’t know he was god. I took the measure of that guy, and it’s like, he thinks he’s smarter than he is. He’s gonna hurt this country. And what I didn’t know then is that he had actually funded that frigging lab in Wuhan. He had authorized those gain-of-function research experiments — behind the back of the Trump administration, I might add, all documented in the In Trump Time book.
Again, if he had just told us. But I don’t blame the Boss for not taking my advice. The villain in that piece is you had all four of the big four health guys — you had Hahn at the FDA, Redfield CDC, Azar at HHS — saying, “He’s god. Keep him.” But most import I blame Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, ’cause he didn’t have the stones to take the blowback.
To me, it was like a one- or two-day story. But his press team were like little lamb sheeps. Mulvaney was a scared little lamb sheeps. It’s like, “Oh, don’t fire Fauci! He’s god. Too much blowback.” No, no, no. I was like Churchill on Hitler: “Strangle that Fauci baby in the crib.” How do you fire him now? I’m coming at him hard.
His approval rating’s gone from over 70% down into the toilet with Biden in the thirties, and if people read the In Trump Time book, that guy’s gone. He’s in prison. And if you don’t believe me when you read the book that Fauci should be in prison, here’s any offer, guys: I’ll give you double your money back.
BUCK: Peter, I’m gonna go get a copy of the book right now. Clay and I are really appreciative of you joining us here and lighting it up, and so much of what you say here is just ringing so true. In Trump Time: A Journal of America’s Plague Year. Sir, fantastic. Appreciate it. Good luck with the book.
NAVARRO: You guys are fun. Take care.
BUCK: We’re fun?
CLAY: Wow. Flamethrower. I thought we were gonna have a little marshmallow roast and he brought in a flamethrower.
BUCK: He came in there; it was like heated up like Schwarzenegger in Commando. Way to go. I love it.
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