In Absurd CNN Interview, Peter Navarro Basically Accuses Harley-Davidson And General Motors Of Being Foreign Agents

If you were wondering whether Peter Navarro was going to hold his tongue when it comes to General Motors’ warning that tariffs could lead to “a smaller GM” and  “undermine competitiveness versus foreign carmakers”, the answer is definitively “no”.

Friday’s broadside from GM came just four days after Harley-Davidson revealed plans to move some production to Europe, and while it was easy enough for the Trump administration to dismiss criticism from the likes of Daimler (which earlier this month became the first major corporation to issue a profit warning citing trade tensions), negative feedback from American icons like Harley and GM is a bitter pill to swallow for a President whose political legitimacy is tied up in a nebulous slogan about making American enterprise “great again.”

Trump did not take kindly to Harley’s announcement. Specifically, he threatened to tax the company clean the hell out of business in a testament to how fickle and thin-skinned the President really is.

Trump’s recent history with GM (outlined in the first linked post above) makes Friday’s announcement all the more amusing and, undoubtedly, all the more frustrating for Trump.

On Saturday, Germany’s Welt am Sonntag reported that BMW has now written a letter to Wilbur Ross imploring him not to slap tariffs on auto imports.

“It seems that the threat to impose these sanctions is designed to achieve certain economic goals,” BMW said, adding that some 120,000 American jobs have been created by BMW’s investment of nearly $9 billion in a Spartanburg, South Carolina, plant.

Enter Peter Navarro.

Peter is likely stinging from a rare defeat at the hands of, well, I would say at the hands of Steve Mnuchin, but actually, the relent from the Trump administration on how to go about restricting Chinese investment in U.S. industries was actually forced by global equity markets, which plunged on Monday after reports suggested Trump might try to use the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

With markets in free fall, Mnuchin and Navarro attempted to refute those reports and by Wednesday morning, the “official” word was that Trump would instead take a less aggressive approach by trying to strengthen and modernize CFIUS.

That’s no ideal if you’re Peter Navarro, who is a “shoot first and ask questions later” type of moron guy when it comes to China. For his part, Larry Kudlow contended that the CFIUS approach was not in fact meant to telegraph a less aggressive stance. In short, it was a week of mixed messages as the administration attempted to calm markets while simultaneously sticking to the notion that Trump wasn’t backing down.

Fast forward to Saturday, and Navarro showed up on CNN to talk about GM. Here’s what he came up with:

Got that? Harley is “speaking with a forked tailpipe” and along with GM is “playing into the hands of the foreigners.”

Or so says the completely unbiased man who produced a documentary called “Death By China” and who is a standing joke in the academic community.

Navarro would also accuse GM of employing “smoke and mirrors” to fool the American people. Oh, and he said GM’s U.S. factories are merely “assembly plants” for foreign parts.

As Bloomberg notes, “[GM] CEO Mary Barra had earlier tried to stay on good terms with Trump continuing to serve on his Strategic and Policy Forum even after many other CEOs, such as Disney’s Bob Iger and Tesla’s Elon Musk, quit to protest Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement last year.”

One certainly imagines she’s going to find herself on the wrong end of a Trump Twitter tirade in the not-so-distant future. And if GM ends up cutting U.S. jobs in response to the tariff threat, well then God help her or, if you’re Peter Navarro, “goddamn” her.

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